What the Best Leaders Do During Lunch (and Why You Should Copy Them)

Grey alarm clock with knife and fork

What the Best Leaders Do During Lunch (and Why You Should Copy Them)

There is immense value in a solid morning routine. Ariana Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, Howard Shultz, and countless others have well-documented routines they claim greatly contribute to their successes.  

Since each day has the same 24 hours, why shouldn’t we evaluate all minutes equally? I did just that when I reached out to many of the great leaders I studied in Building the Best to find out exactly what they do during lunch. Their answers varied, but they all have a common theme: focus less on food and more on health. By health, I mean the health of their relationships with others.  

Always Focus on Relationship Building

We’ve all seen a CEO or boss eating their lunch alone. While it might happen occasionally, the best leaders don’t make a habit out of it. Jason Lippert, CEO of Lippert Components, said, “If I do eat, I never eat alone. It’s always with one of my teammates or customers so that I can work on developing meaningful relationships with the most important people to our business.”

Leadership is all about relationships and what better way to build relationships than through the breaking of bread. When you do this, you get to know people at a deeper level and can see learn who they are and why they are the way they are.

Bypass solo lunches at your desk and make a point to rarely eat alone. 

Excercise with a Group

The lunch hour is a popular time for professionals to make their way to the gym. Casey Crawford, CEO of Movement Mortgage, who is a former NFL Player and the fittest CEO in America said “I don’t spend a lot of time eating during my lunch hour. I can eat in 3 minutes but it takes me a lot longer than that to work out. I structure my day to where I can workout in the Movement Gym with other teammates. Turns out to be a great opportunity to collaborate with others, knock out my daily health goal, and check-in with new Movement employees I don’t know well yet.”

Not every leader has a gym in their office but Casey’s routine is a powerful one. Not only is he focused on his health but he is building new relationships with employees. Instead of allowing the lack of gym to hinder your exercise with others, ask teammates to go on a walk outside or head to the closest gym.  

Focus on What Goes In

Most leaders have such busy days they rarely get the opportunity to carve out a whole hour for lunch. Chip Brewer, CEO of Callaway Golf, spends as much time as he can with team members during lunch but he also leverages healthy options, “I’m very particular about what I eat. When traveling, I’m often at a lot of big dinners. When in the office, I eat a low carb and low sugar diet – lots of salads with chicken.”

Not only is Brewer worried about his waistline, he knows he is fueling his momentum for the rest of the day. By switching out your favorite carb riched lunch with something lean and healthy, your afternoon performance will see a jump.  

The moral of the story is to use your lunch hour to build strong relationships and a healthier you. Whether you’re focused on one of these activities or all three, you will be serving yourself well as a leader.

Here is the question to ponder or tell me what you do in the comments section:

How often do you eat with your team or how often does your boss eat with you?

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on instagram @johngeades.