Leading Blog






06.09.08

5 Leadership Lessons: How the Best Get Better and Stay That Way

5 Leadership Lessons
Sports psychologist and executive coach Graham Jones believes that the real key to excellence in both sports and business is mental toughness. In the current Harvard Business Review he writes that the most successful people do five things to get better and stay that way.

1  Learn to Love the Pressure. To do that you must dedicate yourself to constant self-improvement. That is made a lot easier if you learn to compete with yourself and block out the drama of those around you. It’s a choice. “Greg Searle, who won an Olympic gold medal in rowing, is often asked whether success was worth the price. He always gives the same reply: ‘I never made any sacrifices; I made choices.’”

2  Fixate on the Long Term. Map out short-term goals in every area that affects your performance to make sure you meet your long-term goal. Long term success is paved with small achievements.

3  Iron Sharpens Iron. “Train” with the people who will push you the hardest. “Smart companies consciously create situations in which their elite performers push one another to levels they would never reach if they were working with less-accomplished colleagues.”

4  Reinvent Yourself. Once you become the benchmark, you need to keep reinventing yourself. To do this you need to develop an insatiable appetite for feedback; you need to be “hungry for advice on how to develop and progress. One word of caution, however: While it’s good to feel challenged, you need to make sure that any feedback you get is constructive. If criticism doesn’t seem helpful at first, probe to see if you can get useful insights about what’s behind the negative feedback. Get more specifics. You should be able to see concrete improvements in your performance after getting detailed coaching advice.”

5  Celebrate the Victories. Think of it as constructive celebration. Otherwise it can lead to complacency. “Celebration is more than an emotional release. Done effectively, it involves a deep level of analysis and enhanced awareness. The very best performers do not move on before they have scrutinized and understood thoroughly the factors underpinning their success.”

In the end, the keyword is resilience. Jones concludes, “Most of those participating in the Olympics this summer will walk away from the games without grabbing a single medal. Those with real mettle will get back into training again. That’s what truly separates elite performers from ordinary high achievers. It takes supreme, almost unimaginable grit and courage to get back into the ring and fight to the bitter end. That’s what the Olympic athlete does. If you want to be an elite performer in business, that’s what you need to do, too.”

Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:11 AM
| Comments (0) | Five Lessons , Personal Development



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