While many people view a hobby as nothing more than a time-filler, a quaint escape from the normality of a mundane routine, or even just an activity to spend some money on, it is worth recognizing that they can actually be a superb medium through which to improve your professional skill set.
Will pick up a new hobby make you a better leader in the workplace? It will if you commit to it and understand the benefits worth striving for.
In order to become a great leader, self-development should always be on the cards, be it through education or experience; those who stop learning risk stagnation, boredom, and disillusionment.
These are factors to be avoided at all costs, particularly if you aim to put your managerial skills to their best possible use and relish in the many rewards that come with doing so.
If you are currently sitting on the figurative fence about whether or not to pick up a new hobby anytime soon, here are some important considerations that may nudge you in the right direction.
The best leaders are committed to their company, but perhaps more importantly, they are committed to their team and the individual members involved.
For anyone who has ever spent a great deal of time in a management position, you may have experienced this level of commitment start to waver.
This is totally normal and fairly common, so there is no need to panic just yet. Taking up an exciting new hobby, one that invigorates your mind and body, might be able to help you remember the value of solid commitment.
By committing to a hobby, you can actively visualize the progress you have made and enjoy the reward that comes with the act of progression itself.
Say you were learning a new musical instrument and finally mastered a song, a chord, or a scale; this is a reward in itself and an important lesson that you can apply to your professional life.
A hobby can be whatever you want it to be, too, so do not worry about opting for one directly related to your line of work; that might end up being a mistake in the long run.
Many accomplished entrepreneurs and business leaders enjoy a range of wonderful pastimes; in many cases, it keeps them on their toes. For example, Michael Savage of New Canaan has many hobbies. He also just happens to run a multimillion-dollar accounting business at the same time.
A Stress Busting Extravaganza
As a leader, you will likely be well aware of the many dangers stress can represent and how taking steps to negate a stress-induced meltdown is a must.
Sometimes, being a better leader means being there for your team and not in a way that alarms your staff or incurs damage to your physical and mental wellbeing.
Burnout is real, and it is hard to avoid if you do not actively try to do so. A hobby could be the perfect way of doing this.
A few stress-busting benefits of hobbies might include:
1. The chance to remove yourself from the office – while you might have an easy time physically removing yourself from the office, sometimes the mind can stay in the building. A hobby can help you forget your woes while stimulating your brain in a different kind of way than how work does.
2. Time to Yourself – if you have no time to yourself, it can be hard to nurture your mental wellbeing. Offering yourself the chance to escape into your own world, to explore your own mind, and ask yourself some important questions is crucial every once in a while.
3. Relaxing your brain – some hobbies can be exceptionally taxing on the mind, but maybe this actually helps you calm down. Other hobbies are quite the opposite, gaming or birdwatching being possible examples. Whatever you decide to choose, beating stress means allowing yourself the relaxation your mind needs to carry on and replenish your energy for the road ahead.
At the end of an excruciatingly long and arduous working week, the opportunity to go home and indulge yourself in a little ‘me time and practice your hobby can be one of the best stress reducers out there.
Strengthening Your Mental Dexterity
Learning something new is good for the brain, plain and simple. It keeps your mind nimble and, in many cases, it can even supply you with new ways of approaching problems.
Any good leader will be able to tell you that problem solving is an intrinsic part of what makes the job so difficult and so rewarding.
A hobby might open your eyes to a new way of approaching problems without you even realizing it at first!
Some great hobbies for improving your mental dexterity may include:
a). Upcycling – It is not just for the hipsters of the world, upcycling can be a great hobby, and it requires a diverse set of skills to master, such as crafting, design, creativity, the ability to sniff out a good deal, and if you want to make some money on the side, the gift of salesmanship.
b). Reading – In a world that saw the likes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, James Joyce, and Doris Lessing create some of the most profoundly exquisite works of literature imaginable, there is no excuse for not reading. To truly make a hobby out of it, however, can be a supremely rewarding endeavor, one that can infinitely strengthen the mind and help you expand your perspective.
c). Dancing – Letting loose and dancing your worries away might sound like a nightmare for some, but maybe this is all the more reason to try it. Dancing is good for you both physically and mentally, especially if you start learning complex routines. If you spend all day working in a highly formal and possibly even uptight environment, dancing could be the ideal release.
The best way to choose the right one for you is to think about your real passions in life, what naturally interests you, and what inspires you.
In many cases, people enjoy choosing a hobby that differs immensely from the responsibilities at work. Say, for example, you were a project leader who worked with people all day, every day; in this case, gaming or painting could be perfect for someone wishing to spend a bit of time alone.
Conversely, there a plenty of options for anyone missing that social interaction, such as soccer, volunteering, or if you are feeling confident, improv class.
Speaking of confidence, perhaps improv class would be ideal for a leader struggling with confidence; it would be like throwing yourself into the unknown and tackling your issues head-on!
Expressing Your Emotions
In the business arena, expressing your emotions can be extremely difficult, particularly if you are a leader who needs to keep it together to support the rest of your team and ‘set a good example’ as it were.
Suppressing your emotions can sometimes be a fundamentally bad move, particularly in the long run. Of course, social convention demands that you behave a certain way as a leader, so learning to discover ways in which you can explore and explain how you feel is a must.
Hobbies can be the medium through which you can do this, and you may find that your inner machinations materialize in some surprising ways.
Knowing yourself is the key to knowing and leading others, and this all starts with you. A few hobbies you could try out in this regard include:
1. Writing – An ancient form of self-expression and art, writing can be a wonderful way of externalizing your emotions, in turn explaining them to yourself and maybe even creating a memoir you can one day reveal to the world.
2. Meditation – To relax and explore your mind, meditation should be worth consideration. Mastering the art of meditation can supply you with a skill you can always rely on to achieve serenity or self-assessment.
3. Travel – Traversing the planet’s majesty is often a truly life-affirming experience, one that can enable you to interact with different cultures and explore yourself through an entirely different lens.
Bonding with Your Team
If you choose to take up a hobby with your team, even if it is more of a social event than a serious self-improvement endeavor, you may find that you have an easier time bonding.
While good leaders do not necessarily have to have a strong bond with their team, they should at least know them on a deep professional level, which a hobby could help you with.
Finding a Healthy Balance
Committed leaders often struggle with finding the right balance between their home and work lives.
Although an unfortunate situation, it is one that is all-too-common, and it requires a conscious decision to avoid.
Work is just work at the end of the day, no matter how intrinsic your job is, the sustainability of the company.
There is a life outside of the working world, and sometimes, it takes a great hobby to be reminded of that.