What Mindful Leaders can Learn from the World Cup 2018

What Mindful Leaders Can Learn From The World Cup 2018

What mindful leaders can learn from the world cup 2018? Ok, we can hear you asking, “Really?” Scratch beneath the hype and reframe the question; what can we learn about mindful leadership from the World Cup 2018? Ok, at first glance, not a lot. But dig a little deeper and there are many parallels between the beautiful game and mindful leadership. We present our top three lessons for mindful leaders from the World Cup.

1. What Mindful Leaders Can Learn From The World Cup 2018: Leader Authenticity

Brian Tracy said it first “Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily even if you had no title or position.” That pretty much sums up authentic leadership.

Leadership authenticity is crucial if you want to win hearts and minds. No wonder then that Gareth Southgate has inspired the twitter meme #GarethSouthgatewould rising above the usual football gossip. We like Southgate, the nation has fallen in love with his “nice guy’ demeanour and down to earth approach. In his M&S waistcoats he embodies authentic leadership. Authentic leaders stand out. Even when bombarded daily with distractions they are present. They listen more than they talk, they’re able to slow down and to focus. UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Centre discovered that regular meditation improves executive functioning, e.g. the ability to minimise distractions and maintain focus. Mindful leaders have also developed self awareness, they’re able to recognise what their feeling when they’re feeling it, to self regulate and manage their emotional responses, even under pressure. Just like the World Cup players (and the lovely Gareth) they keep it together, whatever the pressure on the pitch is like.

2. What Mindful Leaders Can Learn From The World Cup 2018: Learning from Failure

There are 32 teams in the world cup but only one of them can win. If every player kept that statistic at the forefront of their mind they’d probably pack their bags and leave, but they don’t. England’s recent performance (being knocked out of Euro 2016 by Iceland) hasn’t stopped them. Failure hurts but it doesn’t define us. To be successful in football and in business requires a growth mindset. Debrief. Feel what you feel and embrace those emotions, consider them as data. It’s not mulling over failure that moves us forward, it’s learning from it that is the key differentiator. It’s what you do with the information from failure that is critical. Mindful leaders track those emotions, identifying them and using them to change their habits, behaviour and strategy. They adopt a growth mindset, treating those failures as learning information, deciding what they’ll do differently next time. Just like those 32 teams they’re in it for the long game. Stanford Professor Carol Dweck suggests these 4 steps to develop a growth mindset

  1. Embrace both the fixed and growth mindsets – they’re information
  2. Explore and understand your fixed mindset
  3. Affirm that you have the power to change
  4. Formulate a plan and choose growth mindset actions

3. What Mindful Leaders Can Learn From The World Cup 2018: Resilience

In the 1998 World Cup Ronaldo fell ill, struggling with injuries and illness for years after. World Cup 2002 was a different story seeing Ronaldo rise like a phoenix from the ashes. Ronaldo met the challenge head on, persevering with arduous training even when the doubters had written him off. It’s no different in leadership. Mindful leaders need to maintain resilience in mind and body. Practicing mindfulness regularly enables leaders to examine uncomfortable truths, to manage and accept them before taking action. The daily habit of mindfulness develops a leader who is able to walk the path of honest self reflection. They are powerful and transformative leaders, paving the way for a culture of learning, openness and honesty.

If you’d like to know more about self awareness, emotional intelligence courses or leadership development training, get in touch. We work internationally with Fortune 500 companies offering leadership and management courses, mindful leadership courses, executive coaching and mindful coaching sessions. Get in touch



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