Guest post – 5 reasons why Leadership can improve your Management
5 Reasons Why Leadership Can Improve Your Management
It’s Olympics time and today we have a guest post on what we can learn from the Olympics founding father for management at work – and more importantly, lasting leadership.
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” – Pierre de Coubertin (founder of modern Olympic Games)
With the 2012 summer Olympic Games upon us, viewers will witness some of the best leaders in sports from over 200 nations competing in 26 distinct areas. For managers and students of business, the Olympic Games can offer a wide variety of leadership lessons. From the individual athlete, to the events themselves, to the trainers, families and coaches, strong leadership is an essential component of the success story of every aspect of the Games.
For managers looking to infuse more powerful leadership development and strategies into their professional success plan, the following 5 points may be of particular interest.
1. Inspire the team for the journey, not just the destination
If any Olympic hopeful ever truly knew the full reality of the extremely dismal odds of placing in the Olympics when he/she first began sports as a child, then that person might have just stuck to other hobbies instead with more realistic goals. True elite athletes, however, have the spark and talent for the game despite the challenging journey; they focus on the match at hand instead of just the end result. In the process of mastering their sport, Olympic players build momentum that leads them to beating the odds.
It is the journey and then the destination that inspires the truly great stories of Olympic success. As a manager, you know the goals that need to be met; if you put the time into building team cohesion and inspiring engagement and performance, the success will come as part of the natural process of the leadership you are inspiring.
2. If you want to be an elite leader, invest in your team
At some point in an Olympic hopeful’s journey, there is a point where a major investment is made in the skills, education, coaching, and experiences that can put him or her in the best position possible. As a manager, arranging for training to improve team skills is a wise investment in ongoing success. It is usually much more cost effective in the long run to invest in the team you have. As you invest in them you are also building loyalty which can increase authentic engagement and fuel stability.
A manager who didactically passes out goal sheets and collects data is missing the mark. To build the best teams, top leaders tend to the details of the forest and the trees at the same time. Olympians live with the team and build a sense of family with their coaches as part of the successful strategy that wins gold. In a corporate setting, getting to know your people and taking time to build communication skills that will help you better understand the inner-workings of your team can offer larger ROI and more effective results.
3. Be authentically inspiring
When Pierre de Coubertin first began soliciting support for what would morph into the Olympics that we see today, he had a distinct vision, a passionate motivation and strategy. When employees see you as more than just a manager pushing papers and signing timesheets, then you can begin to leverage your personal brand and story to boost the involvement of your team toward the goals for success that you all share. What are the ideals, goals, and motivators beyond status and money that drew you to leadership? Sharing your journey with your team and honestly engaging in their individual development and goals builds the connections needed to grow greatness.
4. The Olympics celebrate the success of amateurs: remember that
Sometimes a team of mid-career professionals in smaller businesses may feel like they have missed the boat by not working with the most elite firms. There is greatness to develop and celebrate at all levels. With a great team working together there is a synergy that can develop that reaches impressive results at any size company. Leadership skills that allow people room to excel and be their best can produce staggering results.
It took over 5,000 workers, countless volunteers, and scores of support staff to build the 80,000 seat main stadium in London. You can’t micro-manage all that! A big part of the success is the emotional buy-in to the vision and toward doing one’s very best to feel proud of playing a part in a historical event. Great leaders find success with their teams, not despite them. Granted not all corporate goals are as stimulating as being a part of the Olympic stadium project, but a clear vision and an authentic relationship goes a long way toward building the success of any team.
5. Seek your own mentors
Great leaders work with their teams and invest in them, but also schedule in the time to re-charge and to grow professionally themselves. Attending conferences, engaging in online learning communities, and being active in professional organizations that may provide leadership mentoring are all ways to sustain longevity and career vitality as a leader.
You set the tone and energy level for your team, so you have to maintain yours carefully. Working in a little down time for your team after a big project is important, and so is allowing yourself the time to step away, gain fresh perspective, and return to the next project with a sense of renewed vision.
Once managers learn their job, there is the natural progression to want to develop more comprehensive leadership skills. It is in the area of leadership development that your true potential may be realized. Every step you take, every investment you make in your future, can lead you on the path of becoming the very best you can be. The more you invest in your own development, the more effectively you may be able to lead your own team to greatness. Professional development can assist you in setting personal, career-oriented, and team goals that can fortify longevity in your field.
Pete Kontakos is a contributor who writes about strategic management training online.
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