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Leadership : real lessons to be learnt from athetes ! – Anne- Laure Pams, Director Grant Alexander Leadership Development for FocusRH

Paris Olympics Games perspective and the Roger Federer’s stirring speech, at the Dartmouth College graduation ceremony a few days ago, have prompted us to look again at the analogy between business leaders and top-class sportmen and women, and to ask ourselves a question that is no longer open to debate : would bosses and leaders benefit from drawing on some practices from the world of competition ? In other words, would they benefit of developing they athlete’s mind ?

Besides, what is an athlete’s mind ? If you ask many persons, the vast majority will tell you that it means displaying certain character traits such as strength, a taste for effort, unfailing determination and ambition… It means having the morale of a conqueror, « the win », « the stamina ».




But it’s not just that… We have to look beyond that if we are not to be locked into a rigid and mythified conception of power and success. In reality, there is a whole side to it that we too often forget or don’t want to see. While an athlete’s life is geared towards victory, it’s also includes counter-performances and failures. What makes champions so special is that they have been able to deal with them, to accep them. It’s about being fully aware of oneself and abandoning a delusion of superpower in favour of an humble, in-dept analysis of one’s strenghs and weaknesses.
It’s about accepting that the environment is by nature unstable and partly manageable. It’s about finding the resources to adapt to it, to gain perspective and stay focused on your objective. Lifting the veil on this little-know reality opens up a wider field of reflection on what a manager’s performance is and how to achieve it.
To do this, it is essential to get off the beaten track and explore the field of emotions, self-awareness and the personal resources that can be mobilised. It’s a process that requires openness, curiosity and also lucidity ! And it’s only when this work is done that we can turn our vulnerabislity into an assumed strength.

Read the full article on FocusRH