Organizational Health: The Optimal Leadership Diet

Leadership Diet

As much as a well-maintained human body is more apt to produce great physical results, a well-fed and rested leader who is in great shape can sustain a healthy organization toward similar great results.

But, the recipe is not just about what they are fed.

How they are led, what is in their head, and what they do will all affect you if your leaders don’t have the optimal diet.

So what does your leader need? To “feed” on the following four essential elements.

On Leadership and Personal Energy

Part of a leader’s diet is just that: their actual diet of food, drink, and sleep. Proper care and feeding of a leader will depend on each person’s regimen.

But conditions like running on fumes, eating improperly, and consuming a Five-Hour Energy supplement or a quick “Monster” drink over one’s lunch “hour” is a rapid recipe for disaster.

This disaster is shown when the leader’s objectivity wanes, creativity crashes, and tolerance/patience remains at a point too-low to develop a bench of future successors.

However, starting with a healthy diet of taking care of one’s self, the true leader will have the energy to forge ahead and avoid a hospital bed.

Feeding Your Need to Learn

The body needs the right amounts of food, water, nutrients, fats, minerals, and more to thrive. And like this, the brain feeds on the need to learn new things in order to expand and propitiate.

Much as one might physically train the body for greater strength and flexibility, training the brain builds the skills to succeed at each level of leadership.

What works for a new leader early on may not work as well for them at they continue to climb in roles, responsibilities, and levels of leadership. The more strategic the behavior one expects of those they lead, the more they will need to develop the skills to innovate and delegate.

In other words, the more and faster you want a team member to grow, the more you will need to know in order to affect their greatest performance.

Finding the Time to Unwind

The saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” dates back several hundred years when work was less stressful.

In a time when we are always connected and virtually working around the clock, taking time to unwind is not just a nice thought, but it is now an actual requirement. This is because that the risk now is not that one might become boring or bored, but that they will be picking you up off the floor when you collapse from exhaustion.

Unfortunately, many leaders believe that they are invincible. They feel “invisible and bullet-proof.” Consequently, they feel shocked when their body send this message:

“I am done, I am shutting down.”

But as bad and insidious as this can be, a simple break that insures some rest and relaxation can easily be the prescription for a better future, A little fun or downtime will keep stress at bay and most probably will keep major problems away.

Seeing Your World in a New Light

The same routine activities day-in and day-out will cloud a leader’s objectivity and their vision. A successful and coherent leader needs clarity and an elevated sense of creativity to remain sharp and focused.

And unfortunately, clarity and focus don’t stick around when habits and routines abound.

A simple and cost-free remedy is to simply take a little time to leave the office and go for a stroll. Or, take a little time to find others in new industries down the road. Break your routine and find a new way to see certain things.

The change of pace, seeing a new face, and applying a new twist might give you just the solution you are missing.

Leading With Rhyme and Reason

Much like the rhyme that is easy to follow; a leader’s optimal diet should not take tremendous effort or be too much to swallow.

Let things flow and work in changes slow. No need to run or jump the gun in your attempt to suddenly have fun.

Instead, change your intake of food or the time you sleep; increase your efforts to learn while making some time just to burn; and seek to view the world anew so that you as a leader do a remarkable job of leading you.

Whether you are a brand new supervisory leader, a mid-level manager. or an executive whose sole goal is developing their replacement, this healthy “diet” will have a significant positive impact on both your front and bottom line, keeping your organization and you healthy.


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Monica Wofford
Monica Wofford
, CSP, is CEO of Contagious Companies, Inc.
She serves her clients by getting business results and ROI for training functions
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Office 1.866.382.0121

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L2L Contributing Author

1 Comment

  1. Dr. Bill Donahue on September 19, 2013 at 8:14 am

    With all the complexity of leadership the need for simple, focused and practical ways to restore energy is so essential. Thanks for pointing this out and giving us some great tips. I too have benefitted from the quick stroll and ave learned to just shut down, regardless of what others think. I come back better, smarter (at least it seems so–smile), and eager to tackle the next challenge. This is just as hard for self-employed folks who feel guilty not working to get the next sale or client. But this is NOT wasted time. It is absolutely crucial to success- thanks!