The Influence of A Leader’s Hobbies on Strategic Decision Making

Can Hobbies Shape Decision Making?


Being a leader is a tough nut to crack. From taking major corporate decisions to driving the workforce and company’s resources towards strategic goals, it is a 24×7 job. The constant pressure and demanding nature of corporate responsibilities can take a toll on even the most seasoned executives, leading to decision fatigue. It’s in this context that hobbies take on a newfound significance. Beyond mere pastimes, activities like playing chess, reading, and other activities offer invaluable benefits to business leaders, thus sharpening their decision making acumen in unexpected ways.

Engaging in meaningful activities not only offers respite from the rigours of leadership but also equips executives with the tools they need to make sound decisions in the boardroom. 

Chess: Learn To Take Strategic Moves

Chess Learn To Take Strategic Moves, how hobbies help in decision making

Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson is known for his adventurous side and sometimes does kitesurfing and loves to hang out on the seas. But his favourite hobby is playing chess. Why does he play chess? Playing chess includes tactics, planning, bravery, and risk-taking. These are aspects that every entrepreneur and leader should have to become successful.

How can chess help you?

Chess is a game of decisions. Playing chess helps you become more comfortable with making difficult decisions. It teaches you to analyse available information, assess and evaluate your options, and when to be decisive. All these are necessary skills for anyone in a leadership role. Moreover, Chess helps you become persistent, self-confident, and patient and improves your memorising and analytical skills.

Meditation and Mindfulness: To Think Calmly Amidst Chaos

Meditation and Mindfulness To Think Calmly Amidst Chaos, how hobbies help in decision making

Meditation and mindfulness enhance energy and performance. Top leaders such as Marc Benioff (Salesforce), Oprah Winfrey (OWN) and Bill Gates (the former CEO of Microsoft) all practice mindfulness and encourage others to do the same. Meditation helps you stay in tune with emotions, make better decisions, manage stress, and build relationships. Embracing mindfulness regulates mental, physical, and emotional awareness that helps accelerate business goals.

What Percentage Of Leaders Meditate?

Tim Ferriss is an Author, Entrepreneur, and Public Speaker who writes in his best-selling book, ‘Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers’ that more than 80 per cent of the executives, leaders, and world-class performers practise some form of mindfulness or meditation.

Physical Activities: To Stay Fit Mentally and Physically

Physical Activities To Stay Fit Mentally and Physically, how hobbies help in decision making

Leading your company means you have to stay mentally and physically agile. Many successful leaders have a vigorous workout routine, and having a routine makes you disciplined, determined, and resilient. According to research, exercise improves memory and cognitive function, promotes better sleep, and reduces stress hormones. Furthermore, if you are healthy, you become more confident. When you present yourself confidently in a business meeting or a conference, people listen to you and follow the decisions you put on the table.

How To Inculcate Physical Activities In Your Daily Routine?

  • Prioritise exercising
  • Include more movement into your day
  • Set your own fitness goals
  • Choose activities that you genuinely enjoy
  • Opt for stairs instead of elevators
  •  Pay attention to how your body feels during and after exercise

Public Speaking: To Build Up The Confidence

Public Speaking To Build Up The Confidence, how hobbies help in decision making

Entrepreneurs should have the quality of influencing people through their words or speaking skills. Public speaking helps entrepreneurs share their ideas with people to make them understand the exact point and to make that happen, they should speak loudly and fluently. Being an excellent speaker can motivate an entire workforce and unlock new possibilities. 

Taking part in public speaking engagements, such as industry conferences and events, offers leaders valuable networking opportunities. Leaders can connect with like-minded professionals, expand their network, and foster meaningful relationships when a leader talks in front of a diverse audience. Moreover, leaders who engage in public speaking constantly refine their knowledge, expertise, and presentation skills.

How Does Public Speaking Help Businesses Grow?

Statistics reveal that public speaking leads to a 20% increase in sales and a higher chance of securing investments. Leaders with good public speaking skills inspire and motivate their teams and help increase productivity by almost 25%. A leader’s communication styles impact the company’s image and people with effective public speaking allow entrepreneurs to build a stronger brand image.

Golf: To Learn Risk Assessment 

Golf To Learn Risk Assessment, how hobbies help in decision making

Golf teaches you strategic thinking as you strategise each shot. As a golfer, you decide if you want to play it safe or take a risk with each shot. This is like how leaders have to think about the possible good and bad outcomes before making big decisions for their companies. The challenges faced while playing golf mimic the difficulties and complexities of the business world that require foresight and adaptability. As with making business strategies, leaders must envision their next move and devise a long-term business strategy. 

Moreover, when you play, sometimes you might miss the shot, and the ball may not go into the hole. Similarly, as a leader, you might not be able to grab a deal or invest in companies of your choice. Golf teaches you the art of composure in the face of setbacks and how to embrace them as learning opportunities and use them as a stepping stone towards success.

How To Adapt Golf As A Habit?

  • Begin by scheduling regular practice session
  • Consider enrolling in golf lessons 
  • Playing with a friend or joining a golf group can make the game more enjoyable 
  • Keep track of your progress and celebrate your successes

Sailing: To Sharpen Risk-Taking Abilities

Sailing To Sharpen Risk-Taking Abilities, how hobbies help in decision making

Sailing is an extraordinary hobby that requires you to adapt quickly to changing situations, make decisions quickly, and communicate effectively with crew members. Let’s take an example of sailing races; people who dare to take unconventional routes win. Similarly, as the company’s leader, you might need to go through uncharted waters to become successful, literally and figuratively. 

What Are The Lessons You Learn From Sailing?

  • Adaptability: Being flexible with changing weather and wind
  • Teamwork: Working together with the crew to solve problems
  • Resilience: Keep going even when things get tough
  • Decision-making: Thinking carefully about risks and choosing the best path
  • Patience: Waiting for the right time and conditions

Reading: To Build Analytical Skills

Reading To Build Analytical Skills, how hobbies help in decision making

Being a leader, one of the most essential hobbies is reading. It helps you stay connected with current technologies and discoveries. Reading increases your knowledge base and motivates you to become a better version of yourselves. Moreover, reading improves your decision-making, analytical skills, and problem-solving abilities. Reading helps you expand your vocabulary which further helps enhance your communication skills and improves your emotional intelligence (EQ) quotient.

A List Of Books That You Should Read Once

  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni 
  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips
  • The New Strategic Selling by Robert B. Miller, Stephen E. Heiman, and Tad Tuleja
  • CEO Excellence by Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller, and Vikram Malhotra

Volunteering: To Inculcate Empathy

Volunteering To Inculcate Empathy, how hobbies help in decision making

Corporate Social Responsibility is essential for leaders as it fosters empathy and humility and develops a strong sense of responsibility within the leaders. You can work with a charity, local community projects, or environmental conservation to get more insights into societal challenges and needs.

Why Should You Engage In Volunteering?

Volunteering helps you make a difference, and when people appreciate your work, it motivates you to do more. You learn to solve problems in a new environment and work with different teams in several ways. Including your team in volunteering helps them become more confident, creative, efficient and better problem solvers.

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