5 Leadership lessons from World Class Athletes

Olympic athletes are at the top of their game and the best at what they do.  Whether you are in a leadership role or not, there are leadership lessons we can all learn and apply from these world class athletes.

So here are our top 5 leadership lessons from the world of world class sport.

  1. Visualise

Olympic athletes have clear goals.  Whether that’s a gold medal or a personal best time they have a very clear goal.  They visualize the end.  They can see it, imagine it, feel it.  We need to do the same with both ourselves and our teams.  Have a clear goal, visualize, articulate it and communicate it.

  1. Rely on a trusted team

During the medal ceremony you only see the winner.  What you don’t see is the team that got him or her to the podium.  The bottom line is athletes don’t do it on their own, they build a strong team around them.  Everyone has a role to play, all vital elements in the race to win.  Athletes are also quick to ask for help when they need it – take feedback and build on it.  As a leader you the support team, the head coach and your team are the athletes.  Make sure you give them the support they need to win.

  1. Warm up

Athletes warm up before every practice or competition.  A good warm up helps prepare you, puts things in perspective, protects you against injury, alleviates stress, clears the mind and helps hone your skills for the race ahead.  So before you go into that team meeting, or presentation, take a moment to warm up – clear your head, take a breath and prepare yourself.

  1. Never give up

When you look behind the scenes when building a champion you’ll find a determination and resilience that very few can master, but we all should aspire to.  Being truly world class is really hard.  It takes huge reserves of dedication and effort – especially through the hard times when you’re not winning.  Very few of us with the genetics and gift to be a natural leader.  Most of us have to work hard at it, make mistakes, get up and start again.

  1. Cool Down

Athletes always cool down and stretch and every competition.  Ever watched a professional cyclist?  After a grueling 200km race the first thing they do is get back on a stationary bike to spin their legs, get the lactic acid out and prepare for the next race.  Athletes not only stretch and cool down but they study how they did.  The look for data and feedback on their performance so they know how they can do better next time.  So get into the habit of having a 1-2 minute cool down after every meeting or presentation.  Ask for feedback.  What went well and what could you do better.

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