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Friday, June 01, 2012

Positive Leadership: Five Management Lessons from Olympic Athletes

Athletes are preparing hard for London 2012 at present. Once the Games are over, the memories - and lessons – will remain. Whether you're a sports fan or not, there are valuable lessons to be learned when you view the efforts and results of these amazing athletes from the perspective of leadership and peak performance. 

Here are 5 such lessons - one for each Olympic ring - to take to work this week:

They keep score
Olympic athletes know how they are doing all the time. They know their results, but they also know their progress and improvement. If you want to improve your performance, you’ve got to keep score of your own efforts and results.

They have clear goals
Every athlete has a goal for the Olympics. To some, just qualifying to be there is the target, while, for others, a medal - or a specific medal, gold - is the obsession. In whichever case, the athletes are all clear about their goals. You must duplicate that precision in your own work life.

They practice
Actually, they practice, practice, practice - and practice some more. They don't expect world-class performance after only putting in occasional efforts in training. They know to be their best, they must practice in focused and strategic ways to reach their goals. Do you practice like a champion? Are you as diligent and consistent in learning the skills that will help you succeed as they are?

They play to the end
They know where the finish line is, and they don't stop until they hit it. They pick themselves up after falling and continue, or even ignore injuries in their zeal to make it to the finish line. Their chance to achieve their goal may be lost but they don't stop. And you will rarely hear them blaming others for results, unlike many folks in the workplace who constantly berate scapegoats. Olympic athletes play to the end, remaining singularly focused on their endeavour. Do you?

They have coaches
It's unheard of for these world-class athletes not to have a coach. Even though they are among the best in the world, they recognise that they need help to keep improving their performance. It's the same for achieving success in the office. The best thing you can do to improve your own or your staff's performance is to find a coach.


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