Improve Your Leadership Skills With a Hobby

Do you ever feel guilty taking time to golf, fish, dance or engage in another favorite hobby? You shouldn’t and here is why. Hobbies can:

1. Make You a Better Leader

Richard Boyatzis, author of Resonant Leadership, states:

“Resonant leaders are in tune with those around them. This results in people working in sync with each other, in tune with each other’s thoughts (what to do) and emotions (why to do it). Leaders who can create resonance are people who either intuitively understand or have worked hard to develop emotional intelligence—namely, the competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. They act with mental clarity, not simply following a whim or an impulse.

… (resonant) leaders are moving people—powerfully, passionately, and purposefully…. They give of themselves in the service of the cause, but they also care for themselves, engaging in renewal to ensure they can sustain resonance over time…. Great leaders are resonant leaders. They are exciting and get results.”

When you make time to renew yourself, you are better equipped to cope with the inherent challenges and personal sacrifices required of a leader.

Many studies prove that people with hobbies perform better at work. As an added benefit, some CEO’s believe their hobbies taught them their most valuable leadership lessons.

2. Reduce Stress

Stress is a travelling companion of leadership. It affects your physical, mental and emotional health. The effects of chronic stress keep your mind, body, spirit, and leadership from flourishing. Therefore, activities such as a hobby, enable you to recharge. Research shows hobbies counteract the emotional and physical exhaustion that stress produces. Positive feelings from a hobby generate hormones that increase several measures of physical and mental well-being.

3. Increase Creativity

Divergent thinking is a creative process where you explore many ideas that are not the “usual” or most obvious answer. Its key is creativity. A recent study, found that those who have more creative hobbies were better divergent thinkers.

A few years ago, I over-scheduled myself and my creativity slipped away. Now, I devote more time to my favorite hobby, bead embroidery. Each new project starts with several unrelated components which I combine into a one-of-kind, wearable piece. My creativity has returned!

4. Build self-confidence

Hobbies help reveal hidden skills and provide new challenges. When you learn new skills and overcome related obstacles, your self-confidence increases.

5. Promote “Flow”.

Can you remember a situation where you lost track of time? Was your concentration high? Was your thinking clear? Were you focused? If so, you experienced flow. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi popularized this term which is:

A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”  

Boyatzis states, “…leaders must be resonant to create a resonant organization”. Following this logic, it makes sense that leaders must create flow in themselves before they can create an environment for employees to experience the same.

Hobbies that stretch your skills foster flow. When flow exists in a company, both business and people flourish. Csikszentmihalyi says, an “organization with happy employees is more productive, has higher morale, and lower turnover”.

6. Allow you to meet new people.

Some hobbies, such golf, singing, and dancing require sharing your passion with others, forming new social connections and friends.

7. Help You Slow Down Your Mind

If your mind is constantly working, the focus that hobbies require force it to slow down.

8. Help You Thrive

“Thrive” means to flourish. Its hallmarks are purpose and passion.

“Survive” means to live or exist. Some people fill up their life with obligations and responsibilities and lack a personal life. As a result, they end up merely surviving.

Doug Moore, Psychologist, Life Coach and Spiritual Director states:

In survival mode, we only engage in activities that are essential for our existence. Purposefully engaging in a hobby is one way to transcend from surviving to thriving.”

My own hobby provides me with all the above benefits and more. When I create jewelry art that springs from my imagination, I experience joy and accomplishment. (Many have asked me for examples. If you’re curious, please click here to see some.)

Hobbies improve our lives. Dedicate some time to yours!

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