“The time is always right to do what is right. " Martin Luther King, Jr.
You made a promise last year to do better. Your followers love you. You have a great personality, but you have got to quit your job. You are tired, exhausted, and uninspired. What are you going to do, Leader? Well, let’s investigate the important of approaching a holistic approach to leadership. Let’s focus on physical, mental, and spiritual fitness. Clearly, most people understand the important of nutrition and exercise. The problem is not with the knowledge (doing what is right). Therefore, it can be related to the mental and spiritual components. Let’s dig deeper. Last year, I ruptured my Achilles’ tendon playing basketball. When I was on my crutches, I was called everything—“hop along" and “cribbed. " People cracked jokes. I didn’t find it funny. Most athletes are not amused by this sort of ridiculing. Some even find such statements demeaning. Why is it a problem for these athletes? Athletes train their bodies for a purpose (Baechle & Groves, 1998). They are devastated when they cannot compete. People who retire early can have this same “purposeless" feeling. I’ve grown from this injury and have greater empathy for others. I understood my purpose was not connected to my sport or work performance.
Sadly, a leader will develop his body and mind, but do little for his spirit. Any leader without a spiritual foundation will eventually fail. The Apostle Paul understood this concept and writes (Timothy 4:18), “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things. " To be successful in this life, a leader needs more substance. According to Kouzes and Posner (authors of The Leadership Challenge), the leader’s job is to keep followers focused on the vision. This is a difficult leadership task because of the many day-to-day distractions. Many leaders try to solve most issues with their head instead of their hearts. A revival minister once said, “This exist in us, two spirits—‘one I love’ and ‘one I hate. ’ It is the ‘one I feed’ that will dominate. " The best leaders operate with a holistic approach of body, soul, and spirit. In closing, a leader must devote time to mentally cleansing his mind and body, thereby “feeding the spirit, cultivating the mind, and building the body. " Don’t be caught out of leadership shape. Start today!
Baechle, T. & Groves, B. (1998). Weight Training: Steps to Success. United States: Human Kinetics.
Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. (1996). The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
© 2006 by Daryl D. Green
Daryl D. Green has published over 100 articles in the field of decision-making (personal and organizational), leadership, and organizational behavior. Mr. Green is also the author of two acclaimed books, Awakening the Talents Within and My Cup Runneth Over. He is a columnist, lecturer, professor, and management consultant. Mr. Green has a BS in engineering and a MA in organizational management. Currently, he is a doctoral degree in strategic leadership. For more information, visit his website at http://www.darylgreen.org .