What the Olympics Can Teach Us About Leadership

New Post from Andrew Brunhart

andrew brunhart olympicsThe 2014 Winter Olympics are captivating the hearts of many members of the global community. Many television sets are ‘tuned in’ as victors rise and some dreams end in defeat. Beyond winning and losing, Olympic athletes have a lot to show as leaders and lend themselves well to a larger metaphor of government leaders.

These athletes spend most of their lives training tirelessly in the shadows. Then all of the sudden, for two weeks, they are pushed into the international spotlight with millions of audience members. While they are competing every move they make is discussed. The commentators talk about how they prepare, they ask for statements on their performance, and they insist on getting the dirty details of their personal life to paint an accurate picture of their ‘character’ during the winter games. If an athlete makes a misstep in any of these interviews or reacts in a way that seems less than favorable towards an opponent, they can be painted as arrogant, weak, or a bad representative for their country.

This aspect of leadership, performing well in the public eye, is relevant to federal leaders. Leaders have to cultivate and maintain a public reputation. Leaders need to use failures to improve and encourage their team/employees to work together to solve problems. These traits will not only boost an important public image, but will also improve performance.

The Olympic athletes at Sochi have passed on some interesting words of wisdom that could benefit federal leadership. U.S. snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg came from obscure athlete to gold medalist and encourages others to, relish, don’t stress the big moment. Some athletes, like downhill skier Bode Miller, blame external factors for their defeats, like cloudy skies. However, the best athletes see failure as an opportunity to improve rather than a time to make excuses. Figure skater Ashley Wagner came in fourth in a national competition a few weeks ago, but then took advantage of the Olympic opportunity to help win the U.S. a bronze medal. This proves how important it is to give yourself and others a second chance to succeed and to treat it like an opportunity, a fresh start. The bottom line is, don’t let defeat get you down. Shaun White did not medal this year in the snowboarding half-pipe competition. This is even more of a blow because he has won for the past two Olympics. He could have given in to his disappointment, especially because he was experiencing it publically. Instead White jumped over the barrier to the fans and gave two young cancer patients high-fives. His strong public appearance in the face of failure is an example for leaders everywhere.

via Andrew Brunhart: A Career in Leadership http://ift.tt/OuuPMj


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