Body Balance

Is body balance important in leadership?

Is body balance important in leadership?

You are probably too young to remember the TV series Kung Fu, which follows the adventures of Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin monk who travels through the American Old West, armed only with his spiritual training. His mentor, Master Po had the fabulous line where he addressed the monk with the response, ”Patience, grasshopper.”

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Master Po didn’t run around or bounce. No one expected him to be Mick Jagger and we never saw him walking. If we did, he may have appeared frail and unbalanced and this would have undermined his status as an all-knowing prophet.

This is because there is solid research to show that balance physically is directly correlated to the frailty of the mind.¹ You see gait is an example of behaviour that reflects various levels of nervous system function with gait characteristics closely associated with executive functions including basic and high-level cognitive processes such as attention, working memory, decision-making, and problem-solving. Personally, you may have recognised in friends and relatives who have impaired cognitive function resulting from dementia, that they are in constant danger of falling.²

It gets worse. Researchers have also found ³ that the ability to balance can indicate longevity for older adults. Their report stated that people who fail a balance test of standing on one foot for 10 seconds are twice as likely to die within the next 10 years!

In the leadership arena, this failing balance is a major issue for President Biden as I write. You will have seen his increasing struggle to walk and descend stairs.

The lesson for us all is that sometimes lack of balance has nothing to do with a declining mental state. You may have a sore foot or be tired or have a headache. Here’s the twist: the perception is the same – balance of body equals balance of mind in the eye of the beholder.

Forget Biden, the question for you is this: Are you wearing heels in which you can not walk without throwing your weight forward? Do you make an entrance to a room, stage or meeting and then step/fall backwards? Do you shake hands with your left foot forward? If so, there is every chance you will be easily thrown off balance.

I see these things every day, and if you are younger, you may not have dementia, but you will make some assumptions about the weakness of thinking. In negotiation, perhaps they will think you are physically and mentally a ‘pushover’.

And perception is a funny thing. Once it’s there, it’s hard to remove. I wait by the hour to read ‘Biden resigns’.

Do you?

Let me know your thoughts.

Love Dr Louise Mahler

¹ Au Feldman R, Schreiber S, Pick CG and Been E. Gait, Balance and Posture in Major Mental Illnesses: Depression, Anxiety and Schizophrenia. Austin Med Sci. 2020; 5(1): 1039.

² Relationship Between Balance, Gait, and Activities of Daily Living in Older Adults With Dementia.

Nam Gi Lee, PT, PhD, Tae Woo Kang, PT, PhD Found at:

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2151459320929578

³ Sports Medicine, Volume 56, Issue 17 Found at https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/56/17/975

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About Me

Dr Louise Mahler is a body language expert. With a focus on study of the mind-body relationship and business applications; providing practical inspiring improvement to global leaders.

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