Lead Like An Olympian

There is a sign on my desk that reads “Teamwork is what makes ordinary people achieve extraordinary results”. This week, the 5000m Olympic runners from New Zealand and the U.S. taught us all a lesson in compassion, leadership and that being team-players doesn’t always apply to just your own team. What transpired: an extraordinary result.

It is my plan to use the story of distance runners Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand and Abbey D’Agostino from the United States as examples of exemplary leaders. They are conscious leaders who didn’t stop to think how the outcome would affect them personally, their response to help each other was inherent. As conscious leaders, compassion was their first choice, not one at which they systematically arrived. And as conscious leaders, blame didn’t even come into play.

Watching this beautiful story unfold caused me to pause and think about creating ways to emulate the grace and compassion of these two women while coaching young leaders. How will I help others to achieve such greatness as the Olympians? How achievable is inherent compassion? What does being a team player really mean?  A new bar has been set.

Before the race, the runners had never met. Both were competitors who, with hard work were positioned to realize a dream. Both had sacrificed and devoted years of training to arrive in that place, as world-class runners, in that race.

I don’t recall who won the Gold, Silver or Bronze medals for the 5000m event, but will always remember the legacy of Nikki Hamblim and Abbey D’Agostino, who will be forever in our hearts as two world-class human beings.