The leadership edge:…why staying fit is the only advantage for leadership


Leadership creates an environment which makes people want to be part of the team or the organization. The creation of a better environment and culture makes the people want to, rather than have to do. It is a business imperative therefore to create that environment congenial for work. Leadership gives purpose and not just work and function. But the creation of a suitable environment for the promotion and the wellbeing of employees or subordinates is an exercise that hinges on leadership effort and sacrifice of hard work and a balance of multiple factors.

The keys to unleashing the workforce and ensure the tasks and functions of leadership are well and effectively executed are for leadership to harness and develop the four health and vitality needs of the leader as well as members of the organization to enable leadership have an edge. To remain balanced requires a healthy development of perspectives, the autonomy, connectedness and tone. The effectiveness of leadership is the balance of mental and physical, spiritual and Emotional capacity development and application. A healthy proportional diet with physical, spiritual, mental and emotional exercise is a recipe for promoting and maintaining the wellbeing (capacities) of the leader guaranteeing quality leadership and followership.

Leadership is a game of influence in pursuit for a common goal and alignment of skills, efforts and contributions. Leadership exists to influence, direct and change and this occurs in teams or groups. Groups are the context in which leadership takes place, hence it is considered important for the Leader to stay strong and healthy to enable the effort to direct his/her energies toward the common achievable goal feasible. The primal dimension of leadership to drive the emotional task of handling themselves well and their relationships with others (Leaders) is crucial. Again, the drive to achieve results, the ability to take initiatives, skills in collaboration with teamwork, and the ability to lead the team for success is the primordial function of leadership which needs greater balance of all the Competencies (Emotional, Physical, Spiritual and Mental) if leadership wants to succeed, make impressive and remarkable impacts in the lives of those it leads, meet goals, build sustainable and high-performance teams.


Leadership role is categorized into functional and Task need Based capacities with imbedded commitments and sacrifices of will. Whereas the functional role looks to the management of systems and their promotion, protocols and guides to ensure the set imperatives are achieved, the task need speaks to the implementable considerations, the action plans and the inputs applicable to realize the objectives. The core to leadership functions and management are defined to mean the setting of the task, the planning and organizing of agenda, the briefing and motivating of team and other supporting staff, the evaluation of plans and the implementable outcomes. The task is set with clear objectives, definite timelines with realistic plans and targets to meet evaluation threshold. Plans are announced, ideas sold and predicted, questions invited so to make room for tentative plans. This is leadership by function.



On the other hand, the call to leadership is the expectation to answer and or satisfy the basic needs of achieving the Task, Developing the Individual members of the team and to Build and maintain an effective working team. That is to ensure that the expectation to deliver on the task or mandate is such that, whiles leadership pursues the ultimate desire for excellent performance and results, the leader may not lose sight of addressing the desires and expectations of those he/she leads. Leadership work with individuals who form the team. The people who form the team have individual concerns and needs which ought to be addressed by the leader if he/she wants the teams’ total commitment to push the agenda for success and a reliable support and loyalty to steer affairs. In essence, the leader must care for the needs of the people to maintain that loyalty and commitment which resultant effect brings about a well-functioning team and success.

All these paints some rudimentary facts about the expectations of leadership and how the leader ought to conduct the business of the day as a leader and a manager. That notwithstanding, the leader must have the energy capacity to function and administer great leadership for success and resilience without which the objective for appointment and role expectations would be an illusion.

Building a functional leadership energy capacity

The energy capacity of the leader would be charged with the right amount of a healthy satisfying diet. A healthy diet would ensure a physical revival of the body, mentally uplifting, build psychological power and emotional satisfaction which may contribute significantly for the effective management of the team and their needs, the task ahead and the objective to maintain an edge as a leader. Good intentions do not compensate for bad judgement as a leader. Therefore, the need for a model to see how they can work and lead in a different way, different from what they are used to, different from the culture of the organization they work in, different from the controlling transactions of the industrial age remain considerably a great key for leadership consideration. And it’s the leader’s responsibility to demonstrate this through the exercise of building the four-dimensional capacity of the human to bring about the desired energy for such an effective result. Therefore, let’s look at.

PHYSICAL Health and Vitality

This is a balanced diet, sufficient physical activity and sleep and opportunities to rest and recover. The physical anatomy of the leader functions to build endurance and promotes mental and emotional wellbeing and recovery. The physical involves caring for our physical body and ensure the right kinds and amount of food is eaten, having enough rest and relaxation and a regular exercise. This attitude of the leader contributes significantly to ensure the leader is present physically to drive the business of the day. Being there physically as a leader has its own advantages which stimulates trust, confidence and reliability.

MENTAL Health and Vitality

By mental, I refer to the ability of the mind as a faculty of the body to function optimally for the benefits to decide, recall, memorizes and inhibit. It is very important to note that, a sound mind always lives in a sound body. The connection between the physical body (health) and the mind’s ability to function well has greater impacts on leadership performance and successes. Therefore, leaders and those in management roles have greater responsibility to build their energy capacities in these areas for whenever the mind is challenged by energy hungry, it is easily distracted and gets limited in its capacity to function well. The mental is said to focus on physical and emotional energy flow on the task at hand.

EMOTIONAL Health and Vitality

The emotional capacity creates the internal climate that drives the ideal performance state. It provides the understanding of how to express empathy as a leader which often can shift the dynamics of how the leader show up and connects with his/her team. The feeling of both sympathy and empathy means the leader is human and can acknowledge another’s situation and feelings. However, the leader must have a balance to decide when to sympathize or empathize. The task obviously must be done but individual and team needs too must be satisfied. Moreover, the exercise of empathy puts the leader right in the shoes of another and shows the team how he/she deeply understand their perspectives from their frame of reference. It equally helps the team to feel like they are not alone in the situation and that the leader have understanding and perspective of their situation and he/she is in it with them. Emotionally effective leaders don’t buy into or try to suppress the inner experiences of their team and subordinates. Instead, they approach them in a mindful, values-driven and productive way by developing them to remain emotionally agile.

In our complex, fast-changing knowledge economy, this ability to manage one’s thoughts and feelings of emotions is essential to the wellbeing of the leader and ultimately ensure the success of the business. The build up to these critical skills of emotional agility can again help not only the leader but the entire team to alleviate stress, reduce errors, become more innovative and improve job performance. The prevailing wisdom says that, difficult thoughts and feelings have no place at the office though all human beings have an inner stream of thoughts and feelings that include criticism, doubt and fear. That’s just our minds doing the job they were designed to do and trying to anticipate and solve problems and avoid potential pitfalls. Even so, great leaders build effective relationships, exercise greater self- control and confidence, interpersonal effectiveness and consciously practice enough patience as means to revitalize and boost their emotional energy vitality to stay afloat and have the edge.

SPIRITUAL Health and vitality

The capacity to stay spiritually strong provides a powerful source of motivation, determination and endurance for leadership. Every leader knows well and as a matter of fact tries to nurture and cultivate the habit to build his spiritual capacities to stay afloat. The spiritual energy is a unique force for action in all dimensions of our lives. It is the most powerful source of our motivation, perseverance and direction. It is defined as the connection to a deeply held set of values and to a purpose beyond our self-interest. The key muscle that fuels spiritual energy is character-the courage and conviction to live by our values even when doing so requires personal sacrifice and hardship. This energy the team needs from the leader is to be spiritually ahead to inspire direction and motivation without which followers and members of team have their own energy dissipated and a loss of direction.

For the leader to have this balance of energy is to explore his sense of purpose and revisit his vision constantly and commit time to deeply deal with what he or she values. The leader equally needs to develop the need for constant practice in prayer and meditation if he or she wants to build his spiritual muscles. Being compassionate and forgiving of self and to others, realistic about own limitations and be opened to feedbacks are all great hallmarks of spiritual vitality of the leader.

In conclusion however, I will emphasize that, the excellence of the leader lies in these great details of pursuing healthy habits and vitality, the only advantage that gives leadership an edge.

Discovery…. Thinking solutions, shaping visions.

Written By:


The writer is the CEO and Strategic Partner of AQUABEV Investment and Discovery Consulting Group. He is an Executive Director and the Lead Coach in Leadership Development and best Business Management practices for Discovery Leadership Masterclass.


Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Tel: +233-0241824033/+233-0501324604


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