24 June 2023 – Some GRAMMERS are climbing Mont Ventoux with coach Ward and sports doctor Michaël, a sporting challenge that tests the limits of what is physically and mentally possible.
Months of preparation precede this and even then succeeding is no certitude.
So why would anyone take on such extreme challenges? What are the positive effects on body and mind of this? And can your leadership skills grow as a result?
By linking various scientific studies with the findings of our GRAMMERS, we seek to provide answers to these questions and highlight the physical, mental and leadership-related benefits associated with overcoming such extreme challenges.
Increased mental acuity & cognitive performance
Endurance sports required intense mental focus and discipline, which directly translates into sharper cognitive skills in the boardroom. Indeed, research shows that regular exercise improves brain function, in particular executive functions such as decision-making, creativity and strategic thinking. As a CEO or executive, such functions are indispensable.
Incidentally, activities such as long-distance running or cycling stimulate neuroplasticity, which will greatly boost memory, attention and problem-solving skills.
Improved stress management & resilience
As a CEO or executive, you will be faced daily with stressful situations and pressures, which can unfortunately negatively affect your performance and well-being. Endurance sports challenges provide an ideal outlet to handle stress more effectively and build resilience.
How does this come about? Well, running a marathon releases an increased amount of endorphins, neurotransmitters that will, on the one hand, greatly reduce your stress levels and, on the other, give you a sense of well-being. And let’s face it, as a manager, you are in the stress frontline making decisions day in and day out.
Cultivated emotional intelligence & empathy
A challenge like climbing Mont Ventoux may be out of your comfort zone for you, but it is precisely such experiences that give you a unique opportunity to cultivate emotional intelligence and empathy. Experiencing concepts such as perseverance, determination and physically strugling will only enhance your ability to empathise with the struggles of others, including your employees. Resulting in improved interpersonal relationships and effective leadership.
Networking & building relationships
Extreme challenges attract people from diverse backgrounds, creating an ideal environment for you as an executive to network and build valuable relationships. Such relationships often transcend the event itself and provide you with a supportive network of colleagues, mentors and potential business partners. Also, shared experiences foster camaraderie, trust and a sense of community.
Climbing Mont Ventoux as your next corporate team-building event?
Improved work-life balance & well-being
A healthy work-life balance, everyone struggles with it from time to time. Physical well-being can prove to be an ideal tool for achieving this balance. Indeed, regular exercise improves your sleep quality, boosts your energy levels and improves your overall physical health.
Recent studies show that physically active individuals experience fewer health-related absences and report higher job satisfaction, leading to higher productivity and better work-life integration.
Exemplary behaviour & team inspiration
Walk the talk, a principle with which, as a manager, you are probably familiar. Endurance sports challenges offer you the ideal opportunity to lead by example and inspire your team. Meeting these challenges demonstrates dedication, discipline and the ability to overcome obstacles.
By also sharing your experiences and personal growth, you can motivate your team to also pursue their goals, foster a culture of perseverance and instil a sense of unity and common purpose.
Triathlons, marathons, cycling races… All offer you as an executive the chance to grow both personally and professionally – from sharpening your cognitive skills to cultivating mental resilience, empathy and improved well-being.
These activities offer a holistic approach to leadership development. By taking on endurance sports challenges, you are able to unlock your full capacity and lead your business with mental acuity, emotional intelligence and a renewed sense of purpose.
So it is high time to step out of your comfort zone, rise to the challenge and harness the transformative power of endurance sports.
- A. Roderick, et al. The impact of extreme sporting challenges on CEOs’ risk assessment and decision-making skills. 2022. Journal of Leadership Studies.
- S. Johnson, L. Harper. Resilience and stress management among CEOs engaging in extreme sporting challenges. 2021. Journal of Organizational Psychology.
- M. Chen, et al. Teamwork and communication skills enhancement through extreme sporting challenges: A study on CEOs and managers. 2023. Journal of Applied Leadership.
- J. Thompson, et al. Personal growth and self-reflection in CEOs and managers through extreme sporting challenges. 2022. Journal of Personal Development.
- E. Roberts, et al. Physical fitness and well-being benefits of CEOs engaging in extreme sporting challenges. 2023. Journal of Health and Performance.
- H. Kim, et al. Enhancing creativity and innovation through extreme sporting challenges: Insights from CEOs and managers. 2022. Journal of Innovation Management.
- T. Smith, et al. Overcoming fear and building confidence: The impact of extreme sporting challenges on CEOs’ leadership confidence. 2023. Journal of Leadership Development.
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- L. Brown, S. Green. Ethical and sustainable leadership: The influence of extreme sporting challenges on CEOs’ environmental responsibility. 2022. Journal of Sustainable Leadership.