Your gluteus maximus (or more commonly known as your butt) is the largest and strongest muscle in your body. In our active valley of skiing, hiking, biking, running and everything else under the sun, this little fact matters. Why?
If you are a runner, for example, you’ve probably suffered from one of the following maladies at one time or another: achilles tendonitis, shin splints, runner’s knee, iliotibial band syndrome, low back pain.
For our skiers, which is generally everyone in the valley reading this article, one of the major causes of ski injuries are weak hips and hip joints (besides falling and crashing of course).
Studies have linked running injuries like the ones I mentioned and weak hips prevalent in ski injuries back to one significant constant…glute weakness.
So, if you want to avoid those annoying injuries produced from running you must get your glutes stronger.
And if you want to strengthen your hips to avoid skiing injuries, you must also strengthen your glutes.
How do you get your glutes, the largest and strongest muscle in your body, stronger? The answer is simple, deadlifts!
I mention deadlifts because it is generally regarded as one of the most basic exercises to get strong. The bar is on the ground, you bend over and grab the bar, keep your back straight, look up, pull, and use your butt to stand straight up. Basic and important for overall strength, to include your glutes, and to avoid injury.
When we get injured, we do all the right things to get back out on the trail or slopes as fast as we can. We ice, we foam roll, we get a massage, we stretch, we rest (or at least we try to…a little). We do everything except the one thing that will help us avoid injury in the first place, which is to strengthen our glutes. We don’t do our deadlifts, the most basic and effective exercise to strengthen the most important muscle in our body.
And by the way, deadlifts are really hard to do, which likely accounts for the fact that most people don’t do them.
Now to Leadership.
Very often leaders, especially young leaders or those new to leadership in general, resort to small gestures of kindness as their primary go-to for their leadership style. What do I mean by this?
They pat someone on the back for a job well done. They make sure to walk around and ask about their employee’s kids or pet. They host a team lunch or go to a ball game to build camaraderie. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with doing these things. They are all good things. But they are not the basic elements of leadership. They won’t prevent injuries, to stay with the metaphor.
Poor performance is the most painful of all leadership injuries and to prevent it we need to do the basics.
What are some of the deadlifts of leadership?
Setting clear guidelines and expectations of behavior. This goes to one of the most common challenges leaders have: holding people accountable. You can’t hold someone accountable if they don’t know what they are supposed to be accountable for. The most basic way to do this, hold people accountable, is to set clear guidelines and expectations of behavior.
A pretty basic concept for sure, but hard to do. Much like a deadlift.
What else? A sound and disciplined planning process. At the end of the day leaders are judged on one thing, mission accomplishment. You can do everything else right as a leader, but if you are not achieving mission accomplishment you will be replaced. How do we ensure mission accomplishment? How do we ensure victory? A sound and disciplined planning process.
Once again, a basic concept that is hard to do. Much like a deadlift.
The list can go on and on. Clear and defined goals, clear and concise communication, etc. These are all considered the deadlifts of strong leadership. If you have these basic elements of leadership in place you will achieve success, and nothing creates a good working environment like success.
Once you do your leadership deadlifts to ensure your leadership glutes are good and strong so you can avoid leadership injuries, go right ahead and ask how your employees family dog is doing.
If you want to be a great leader, stick to the basics and train your glutes!
Errol Doebler is a former Navy SEAL platoon commander, FBI terrorism investigator, and founder of his leadership consulting company, Ice Cold Leader. He can be contacted at Hello@Icecoldleader.com. Look out for Errol’s upcoming new book, “Ice Cold Leader: Leading From the Inside Out” available for PREORDER SOON!