Why the CEO Should Be the Most Physically Active in the Company

By Tom Bosna – Managing Director

Over the past year I have had the pleasure of working with some truly inspiring CEOs and senior leaders in progressive and innovative Australian businesses.

I’ve been blown away by the commitment to wellbeing that I’ve seen. Being leaders in their company, the example that each of these individuals are setting for their people has made a very real impression on me.

Firstly, for the fact that they are investing the time in energy in bettering the lives of their workers. But also, that they are each treating wellness as more than just a people strategy. It has been so encouraging to see leaders take a real interest in creating a culture that cares and creates healthier individuals.

One of the biggest trends I have noted in my experience is that when the CEO and senior leaders are physically active – they statistically have a more engaged workplace and healthier company profile.

While the benefits of being physically active are pretty clear as mentioned in my previously articles – reduced risk of stroke, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression and some forms of cancer. The benefits of having a physically fit and active CEO and senior leadership team are ground-breaking. In practical terms, the ripple effect on the entire organisation is positively linked with great performance and engagement. So, let’s dive in…

 

3 reasons senior leaders should be the most physically active in the organisation

 

Performance Perks

The organisations that had physically active leaders have been found to be more satisfied with their own performance as a team. With a leader that exercised at least five times a week for over 30 mins at moderate exertion, researchers noticed that employees worked smarter and had reduced rates of absenteeism compared to the less active teams.

In my opinion, if the CEO is physically active and is able to discuss the benefits openly in conversation, the entire organisation can benefit. The physical, social and psychological pillars of the organisation can all be positively influenced by the example that an active CEO can set. From a performance perspective, active CEO’s enjoy greater performance across the wider group with case studies revealing higher workforce resilience scores compared to inactive CEO cohorts.

 

Psychological Safety

One of the greatest tasks of the CEO is to create an environment where employees feel psychologically safe. Whilst, the usual focus here is on mental health, I’d like to divert to talk about creating a culture of individual empowerment.

In my dealings, the more physically active CEOs and senior teams have had a much healthier approach to work. Giving their people the freedom to self-manage their workload and leaving space for more flexible working arrangements. Physically active CEO’s seem to trust their workers more, helping to create a culture of psychological safety. We have seen this phenomenon in our corporate wellness centres where staff can access our wellness services whilst at work. Whether that be a Yoga class, a Physiotherapy appointment or a skin check – all is encouraged in a safe culture of wellbeing.

 

Wellbeing champions – the ripple effect

In my consulting work, I have seen CEO’s with teams ranging in size from 50 all the way through to 5000 who have built physical activity into the culture. In one organisation, the core values were created with wellbeing being a key focus – and the subtext being – ‘be the change you want to see’ – how remarkable is that!

With physical fitness being a key pillar for this organisation, organically the CEO and senior leaders have created a culture of wellbeing champions.

One senior leader reported that in their team a team manager of 300 organically started a running group for the Melbourne half marathon. The leader noticed his team drinking too much coffee and sitting for too long and was fed up! The team manager had lost a significant amount of weight in the companies group fitness challenge two years prior and had wanted the team to feel the benefits they had experienced themselves.

Creating wellbeing champions is the mecca of all wellbeing strategy and engagement. The CEO’s who are physically active create a ripple effect of influence and it is embedded into the company culture.

 

The take home!

Physically active CEOs and leaders are high impact individuals, their teams perform better and they create a legacy of wellbeing champions. Get moving, lead from the front and enjoy the ripple effect.

 

Lead from the front – with the help of the Pinnacle Health Group

Creating a workplace culture that encourages the best in everyone doesn’t have to be a battle – not when you commit to leading from the front. If you are interested in learning more about what we do at Pinnacle Health Group to help companies like yours encourage wellness in their people, get in touch by filling out a wellness enquiry form today.