August 17, 2008
Olympian Models Group Leadership
I've had fun watching the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Although I'm new to the intricacies of most of the events, it's very clear that each athlete brings a high level of skill, expertise and determination. Each athlete passed the muster and is expertly qualified to be there.
I marveled at one particular Olympian, Dara Torres. At age 41 she is the first woman to swim in the Olympics past the age of 40. She even proved she is great model of group leadership through one small act of kindness and grace.
The 50 meter race was about to begin and the racers were on the platform preparing to begin. One of the swimmers had a tear in her suit at the last minute. As a result, this competitor was forced to change suits, causing a delay in her joining the others on the platform to begin the race. Torres spoke to one of the referees and the race was delayed for a few seconds until the swimmer could join the group.
More than great sportsmanship, Dara Torres showed awesome leadership. Showcasing strength and speed, she went on to win the race and advanced to the finals.
What can we learn about group leadership from this scenario?
- Safeguard the concerns of your group members FIRST. Happy learners are active learners who work for the whole group by creating a space of security and connectedness.
- Communicate your concerns effectively and everyone wins. When you share concerns to the right people using productive and proactive language, the entire group benefits from the learning.
- Exercise focus so the strength of leadership always prevails. Each group has many leaders offering many opportunities to learn and grow together.
Dara Torres won a silver medal in the final 50 meter race. Speed in tow and grace under pressure, her Olympic spirit served as a great model for group leadership.
What's your example of group leadership?