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Blog > 5 Ways Leaders Can Develop Their Mental Fitness

5 Ways Leaders Can Develop Their Mental Fitness

Tackle high-pressure challenges with ease
Leaders who prioritize mental fitness are better equipped to make sound decisions and guide their teams effectively, fostering a culture of employee engagement.

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When you think of “mental fitness,” what pops into your mind? For many, the idea of mental fitness is related not just to emotional mental health and being quick to think on your feet, but also qualities such as resilience, discipline, and focus. Overall, mental fitness allows you to tackle high-pressure challenges, maintain your mental energy, and enhance leadership skills in ways that will benefit your entire organization.

Why is this important? Leaders who embrace a growth mindset and prioritize their mental fitness are better equipped to make sound decisions and guide their teams effectively, fostering a culture of employee engagement. The significance of employee engagement transcends industry boundaries due to its profound influence on productivity and profitability. According to the 2022 Gallup State of the Global Workplace report, approximately 80% of employees globally are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work, resulting in productivity losses exceeding $8.8 trillion. This statistic underscores the critical need for organizations to prioritize employee engagement as a core aspect of their operational strategy.

In other words, mental fitness is crucial if you want to achieve high-priority goals amidst today’s workplace challenges. So, where do you start?

Here are five strategies leaders can use to enhance their mental fitness.

1. Cultivate a Resilient Mindset

Resiliency is key to good leadership, and cultivating resiliency starts with adopting a growth mindset. A growth mindset looks at crises as opportunities and uses setbacks strategically to further growth.

Of course, developing a growth mindset is easier said than done. You may need to tackle unconscious mental blocks and cognitive behaviors you’re not even aware of before you can truly tap into a growth mindset. This is where leadership development training can come in, helping you identify and overcome those hidden hurdles.

Likewise, you may find that there’s too much stress in your life currently to completely focus on resiliency. To mitigate this, you may need to work on your emotional intelligence skills, to better manage that stress and prevent leadership derailment.

2. Optimize Time Management

If your schedule is already full of important tasks, it’s hard to focus on improving your mental fitness, which also requires attention and prioritization. If you find that’s the case for you — too many high-priority tasks and not enough time in the day — you may need to improve your time management skills.

Start by adopting time management strategies such as delegation so that others take some tasks off your plate — allowing you the space and time needed to increase your overall productivity, prioritize your mental fitness, and enhance your focus.

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3. Maintain Physical and Mental Energy Through Self-Care

Caring for your body and mind is essential for maintaining physical and mental energy. If you don’t take care of your physical health through adequate sleep, good habits, proper nutrition, and exercise, you shouldn’t be surprised if you feel run-down and exhausted every day. Likewise, if you don’t pay attention to your mental health, why would you expect to reach any level of mental fitness?

Care for your mental fitness and maintain mental energy levels through practices such as mindfulness and meditation. According to the National Institutes for Health, mindfulness can reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep, and even lower blood pressure.

As for meditation, a PLoS One study found that “meditation practice may have positive effects on enhancing multiple dimensions of job performance, including work engagement, subjective job performance, and job satisfaction.” An Entrepreneur article further stated that meditation in the workplace can help reduce stress, enhance creativity, and improve self-awareness and relationships. As with mindfulness, a meditation practice doesn’t need to be lengthy to be effective. Just a few minutes of meditation per day can yield positive results.

Just as you might schedule a workout for the end of the day, plan a few minutes of meditation or mindfulness at the beginning of each workday.

4. Develop Discipline and Focus

Just as is the case when increasing your physical fitness, increasing your mental fitness requires a disciplined routine and staying focused on your goals. You’ll need to identify possible stumbling blocks and distractions and try to remove them. Use a habit-tracking tool to develop the good habits you need for better mental fitness (for example, daily meditation or spending the first hour of your workday in uninterrupted high-priority, high-focus work). Then, remain disciplined in avoiding habits you know are bad for your mental fitness (such as taking on too much stress or neglecting your physical health).

5. Foster Teamwork and Communication

Cultivating your mental fitness contributes to your growth as a leader, which can lead to increased engagement and productivity within your teams. Nonetheless, it’s crucial not to overlook the active effort required to realize these benefits. Simply developing your mental fitness is not enough; you must also invest in nurturing effective communication and collaboration among your team members. This is especially true in a remote work setting, where deliberate emphasis on these aspects is essential. Additionally, creating a supportive work culture that actively combats disengagement and employing strategic approaches to meetings are vital for enhancing team efficiency and unity.

The Bottom Line

Leaders who prioritize their mental fitness are better equipped to handle the multifaceted demands of their roles. By developing a resilient mindset, optimizing time management, maintaining energy, cultivating discipline, and fostering teamwork, leaders can push themselves to peak performance while also guiding their teams to greater levels of engagement, productivity, and profitability.

Need more help developing your mental fitness and increasing your and your team’s mental energy? Register for Arootah’s Health Principles Workshop, on March 14.

Get practical strategies you can apply for personal and professional growth. Sign up for The Weekly Return newsletter today.

By providing your email address, you agree to receive email communication from Arootah

Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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