Former Olympic champion, politician and businessman Sebastian Coe shares the secrets of his success and provides his tips on leadership skills (from an article in the Daily Telegraph in 2009 – I wonder if he would add to this, now, after his experience of running the Olympics?)
I am often asked what motivates me to succeed, and how I apply the skills I learned as a runner to my roles in politics and business. The answers to the first question are a passion for the job in hand and a wish to be the best I can be; the answer to the second is that I apply them daily.
There are common traits to successful leaders in any field: imagination, tenacity, the ability to listen, intuition and intelligence. Equally important is the ability to focus and stay on track for as long as it takes, self-management, an element of charisma, a degree of talent and sheer personal courage.
Sports people at the top of their game tend, like entrepreneurs, to have something of a frontier mentality. They are bold and they are prepared to embrace new ideas. Those with a winning mentality are often more prepared to listen to criticism and do things in a new way. It can take courage to set yourself apart from the crowd. Choosing to do things differently can be mistaken for arrogance but, in reality, taking a new approach is often born simply of a compulsion to keep driving forwards.