Watching interviews with Gold Medal winners and other Olympic high performers, it’s striking how most of them seem thoroughly pleasant and even ordinary people – very far from the sometime stereotype of winner as warrior. In short, they are profoundly human.
Sure, in the background, there may well be a coach demanding ever higher effort. And it seems that bringing a little more aggression into his game has made a difference for Andy Murray, for example.
Older hands talk about experience bringing the presence of mind to deliver absolute performance as well as winning medals. Younger heads instead sometimes stopping at “merely” beating their rivals.
What this got to do with leadership and change?
Are top athletes leaders? In the sense of influencing others, and so stimulating change, they clearly are.
So here’s the thing…
The most inspirational Gold Medal winners combine both power and humanity. Neither is enough on its own, for them or for us.