Leadership Perspective and Andy Murray – Shared Hopes or Crushing Expectations?
I just watched a compelling 2012 Wimbledon. There were several excellent storylines, so expect me to blog about a few of them in the next couple of weeks. Today’s post focuses on the Men’s Singles Final.
On one side of the net, you have a “past his prime” Roger Federer seeking a record tying 7th Wimbledon championship and reclamation of the #1 ranking…something thought to be impossible at his age. He is truly the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).
On the other side of the net, you have the “can never get over the hump in a major” Andy Murray seeking his first Grand Slam championship – and this one is his “home” tournament: Wimbledon. No British player had even made it to the Wimbledon finals in 74 years!
Andy Murray made it to the Finals of 3 other grand slams, and he had yet to win a set. He would always play defensively and let emotions control his outcomes on the court. At the 2012 Wimbledon championships, he had the opportunities to wilt in tough matches against David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. In both cases, his opponent had captured the momentum. The pre-Lendl Murray probably would have melted down under the pressure and lost those matches. The new Andy Murray played within his capabilities, did not lose his cool, and won those matches.
Andy Murray did not lose the 2012 Wimbledon Final – Roger Federer won it. Andy scrambled, dove, fell, and did everything he could to emerge the victor. He lost to a superior player on this day. Then came time for the post-match interview…where Andy Murray made an even bigger fan out of me (yes, even I “teared up”), and cemented his status as a “favored son of Britain”. I hope you take the time to watch the entire interview, but I want you to pay particular attention around the 3:00 mark.
After watching that video, consider your own perspective…as a leader, a spouse, a parent or child, or even as a friend. Do you share the hopes of your teams, your family, your friends, and perhaps even your nation? Or do you feel a crushing, relentless pressure to meet their expectations?
I have felt both sides of the spectrum:
Although I acknowledge the pressure of being a provider and protector of my family, I share their hopes.I know I can succeed in my responsibilities because of my family’s support and understanding. In fact, we measure our success by the strength of our relationships…the size of our bank accounts, house and cars are meaningless in comparison.
In contrast with my family perspective, I have felt intense pressure to succeed in business. As one of three principals for Mantis Technology Group, I have felt the stress to keep people gainfully employed with fulfilling careers. When the economy tanked in 2008, the stress bordered on panic as client budgets dwindled!
As a leader, you know you could survive as an individual – but you’ve been tasked and trusted with employees’ careers! Taking an “every may for himself” attitude should never be an option!
Moving from Crushing Expectations to Shared Hopes
I do not have a silver bullet or simple recipe to give you. Here is my suggestion: Communicate Early, Communicate Openly and Communicate Often. You have to move from the uni-directional leader/dependent relationship to developing bi-directional communication that allows you to share both hopes and burdens. I would not expect the CEO of a Fortune 100 company to communicate with the interns in the IT department. However, it should be possible for this bi-directional relationship to exist at least “two levels deep” within a hierarchical organization.
I would love to get your thoughts on the 2012 Wimbledon championships. I also look forward to your perspective on sharing hopes and dealing with crushing expectations. I hope Andy Murray and Great Britain realize the sentiment in the following quote:
We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr
I love my Vickery Girls - and now grandsons! I am blessed in that I also love my job as a VP of Enterprise Solutions for ProKarma. I appreciate the convergence of big data and data visualization in our Pulse Analytics social listening and analytics platform as well as our core software / mobile app development, business intelligence, and test automation services. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin. You can find Brian on Google+.
I love to get watch the Wimbledon finals but I missed it this year. Somehow, my 3-year-old son, didn't get the communication memo I wanted to see it. :)
Communicating in a family is vitally important. Sometimes though, you have to be flexible to understand the needs of others and your communication skills might not be enough to make everyone understand. I could have tried over and over to tell my son what I wanted but he wasn't going to get it because he wanted me to do things with him. I have learned my flexibility is an asset to me. I believe he will be more open and flexible as he get older because I take the time now to listen to him and not just hear him.
Aaron, I just checked, and I think you can still catch the Finals replay - if you are OK with it after knowing the result - at Watch ESPN.
Flexibility in the form of compromise definitely goes hand-in-hand with communications because you can't always get 100% consensus.
Thanks for stopping by, Aaron!
Brian, aloha. When I saw the outcome of Wimbledon, I immediately thought of you and looked forward to reading your post(s) on it.
To begin, how could you not tear up watching that clip? Emotions were so high with everyone. You could feel the connection among Andy and the people. It was Shared Hopes and Crushing Expectations indeed.
What a thrill it must have been to watch them battle it out. And, hopefully, Andy can see that he did not "lose" the tournament or melt, rather a superior player did what he does best-Win!
Brian, I absolutely agree with you on the importance of communication. So many problems in life, in personal and business relationships would be avoided or at least mitigated if there were clear communication among the parties.
Look forward to the next segment of the Wimbledon series. Best wishes for an amazing week ahead. Aloha. Janet
Thanks for stopping by, Janet. Yeah, I get misty-eyed every time I watch that interview. You appreciate someone who cares so much about achieving their goals and fulfilling expectations. Andy isn't there to just collect a paycheck. I think he has a real shot at this year's US Open, and I will probably be actively rooting for him to win Wimbledon next year.
Clear communications. So easy to say, so easy to understand the benefits, yet sometimes so difficult to put into practice.
About Brian Vickery
I love my Vickery Girls - and now grandsons! I am blessed in that I also love my job as a VP of Enterprise Solutions for ProKarma. I appreciate the convergence of big data and data visualization in our Pulse Analytics social listening and analytics platform as well as our core software / mobile app development, business intelligence, and test automation services. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin.