Can You Respect a Tactical Leader Who Isn’t Physically Fit?

New Jersey National Guard leader Brig. General Michael Cunnif came under criticism in 2014 for being over the Army weight standard and dodging PT assessments.

What kind of leadership is needed when implementing a culture of fitness? Is it necessary for tactical leadership to walk the walk when it comes to physical training? These questions (and others) come to mind when thinking about leadership’s support, or lack of support for fitness at a tactical unit.

In July 2015 we wanted to hear your opinion/experience on this matter and posted a survey asking three questions:

  • As a Tactical Athlete, can you respect a leader who isn’t fit?
  • Can a leader who isn’t personally fit effectively require fitness standards?
  • Is it Possible to have a culture of fitness without leadership’s support?

Based on this survey, respect for a leader and a culture of fitness do not seem to be inextricably linked . A unit may train and have a high level of fitness despite their leader’s personal lack of fitness. A leader may require their unit to uphold a certain level of fitness, yet they might not hold themselves to the same standards.

Respondents indicated varying exceptions they would allow for their leaders such as age, injuries, or logistical knowledge, which would still qualify them as a good leader.

As for a culture of fitness, over half of respondents acknowledged the need for each individual to show initiative and be responsible for their own fitness apart from their leadership’s personal fitness. Others indicated that leaders are instrumental in developing a culture of fitness by placing importance on training time and by providing facilities in which to train. In this way leaders have the power to cultivate a culture of fitness within their department or unit.

We want to know what changed in between then and now and asking you to participate once again to find out what role the leadership currently plays in your unit’s fitness culture.

Click HERE to see the July 2015 survey results.



More on this topic? Read 7 Obstacles Implementing Functional Fitness in the “Big Army”


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