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World Para Athletics Championships 2017

Can the UK sustain their lead?

Thursday, 20th July 2017

By, GBS Corporate Training

#Leadership  #Sustainment  #Excellence @gbscorporate

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This week, the spotlight moves from SW1 to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where the World’s top para athletes will be competing in the World Para Athletics Championships 2017. They are all at the top of their game and will all aspire to bring back a medal for their country.

Paralympic bronze medallist Dave Henson said “I’d love to come away from it with a World Championship medal around my neck. Spectators will see the world’s best para athletes compete in one of the world’s most iconic sports venues. Every single member of the GB team, every single athlete that has qualified is an incredible sportsperson”.

For many years these para athletes have dedicated themselves to the path of elitism within their respective sport. Hours upon hours of practice, military-like regimes combined with mental preparation and focus assist an athlete in achieving their goal. Finally the hard work pays off and they are recognised as the elite within their sport.

Training to be a great Leader has parallels with becoming a top athlete

In our most recent blog, we discussed how poor leadership impacts negatively on both the wallet, and the culture of businesses. We also showed that the most successful companies are those that are making the investment in leadership training for their staff.

We believe that for a training programme to be really effective and sustainable, the training process your employees should follow is in many ways similar to how elite para athletes get to the top of their game.

Here’s how:

1. Learning new skills

Just like an elite para athlete needs to understand their specific sport, a good Leader needs a firm understanding of leadership skills or the ‘how to’ in being the best Leader they can be.

Companies can avoid the most common mistakes in leadership development, and increase the odds of success, by matching specific leadership skills and behaviours to the context at hand; there isn’t a one size fits all, since leadership in one organisation will be very different to another.

2. Putting those skills into practice, with more practice…..

Probably the most important thing that an athlete can do to get that Gold medal is to practice, practice, practice.

Anders Ericsson is a professor of psychology at Florida State University, where he specialises in the science of peak performance. According to his research he argues the sole reason you aren't a virtuoso violinist, or an Olympic athlete, or another kind of world-class performer, is that you haven't engaged in a process he calls "deliberate practice".

According to Ericsson, deliberate practice involves stepping outside your comfort zone and trying activities beyond your current abilities. While repeating a skill you've already mastered might be satisfying, it's not enough to help you get better.

In the Business environment, studies have shown that placing leadership development into ‘real work’ reaps huge benefits to the individual and the organisation as return-on-investment is realised as an outcome of changing processes or improving results from project application. Employees who have just gained insights into the skills and techniques they must employ to be a good Leader, must be enabled to put that theory into practice as soon as possible.

3. Approaching everything with a positive attitude

The mind-set of those involved in leadership development must be fearlessly investigated as this underpins their behaviours; a place for self-awareness and approach to leading others.

Great Leaders know that their comfort zone is not that comfortable. It takes a little more courage to put yourself out in front where no else is, taking the road less travelled, challenging the way things are. If you think and behave like everyone else, you may be a good follower but you won't be a great Leader.

"Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline".

In an interview, para athlete and archer, Jodie Grinham, said, “When staff at the archery club expressed doubt that I’d be able to do it, it was like a red rag to a bull. I hated being told I couldn’t do something, so I was determined to not only shoot, but be really good at it, too”. That mental attitude certainly helped her in being selected for the Paralympic Inspiration Programme. Jodie was selected to make her Paralympic debut at Rio 2016 and she made it in style, winning silver in the mixed team compound event.

Whilst it seems strange, many leadership programmes have ineffective measurement and fail to demonstrate a return-on-investment, as often the solution isn’t matched against the needs of the business from the outset. It is critical to match the leadership programme the business context, and understand the abilities and mind-sets of the individuals requiring the training. Only then can an effective and sustainable programme be created and delivered to ensure value generation.

GBS Leadership programmes are designed to sustain leadership excellence

GBS Corporate Training specialise in the creation of bespoke management and leadership programmes and we believe in using a robust questioning approach to scope out the thinking from which we can develop the best solution for our clients.

By understanding the business context in which your Leaders will be performing, we ensure that they are learning the specific skills and techniques they need to perform effectively. We also ensure that the work package they undertake are relevant to your business, and so they can put their skills into practice immediately on return to the workplace.

We employ a 70:20:10 approach to learning. We believe that this is the best method of sustaining learning that starts in the classroom but is delivered in the workplace.

10% of the learning will be in the classroom, and 20% will be achieved by learning from others, such as via communities and networks. The lions-share of the training (the 70%) will be in the workplace – ensuring that your employees put what they have learnt into practice immediately and keep on practicing to keep achieving the greatest positive impact. We help delegates to put their skills into practice through a variety of techniques such as problem-solving, projects and special assignments, and through reflective practice.

Whether you need to put together leadership training for Managers who have recently been promoted, or existing Senior Leaders who want to elevate their performance to the next level, GBS will work with you to put together a training programme tailored to your needs. Visit our website to find out more about our customised learning provision.

GBS is the sole UK provider of Situational Leadership® training. The Situational Leadership® model is arguably the most recognised, utilised and effective leadership and influence tool in the history of the behavioural sciences.

Click here to find out more about Situational Leadership® training.

Situational Leadership