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So much has been said by so many about the Olympics. Tonight the closing ceremony will bring two wonderful weeks to an end. The country and the world will be celebrating. Many of us have loved the way London has felt – the warmth, the helpfulness, the politeness and the sense of effort and achievement. The concept of legacy has been woven in from the very start. What about the lasting psychological legacy? Are there lessons there for leadership? 1) Yes, we can Please, please, please can we stop with the negativity? Right up to the wire people were assuming we could not pull it off. We like Lucy Kelloway and are so glad she found a way to recant her previously ‘whiny, ill judged scaremongering’. People assume pessimism is justified in the face of challenge when in fact positive drive to succeed is vital for success, especially when facing seemingly insurmountable challenges like the state of the economy. How as a leader can you generate enthusiasm and positive belief in your company and your vision? 2) Emotions are data  Stiff upper lip used to rule: men trained to be big and strong and believe that showing emotion is weak, women are just told they are over emotional. Now we revell in seeing athletes, who trained so hard, who gave their all on the day, give vent to strong emotions. We loved them more as a result. When Andy Murray lost to Federer in the finals at Wimbledon, the feelings of a nation towards him shifted dramatically. Instead of a socially uncomfortable introvert, we saw a young man openly distressed at the loss. We liked and respected him more and his Olympic gold a triumph. We aren’t asking you to break down over the P & L but to be aware that people respect emotions. So as a leader, how can you use emotions as well as logic to inspire your people? 3) Applause works Home advantage – people expecting and hoping that you will succeed and being your most vocal supporters will spur you on to achieve more. Positive feedback and encouragement gets the best out of people. Yet every insight into organisations shows employees feeling discouraged at the lack of it. You either chose, or chose to keep, your employees, so you must think they are the best. In what new ways, can you cheer your people on to greater achievement? 4) Behaviours are infectious Having 70,000 well- trained volunteers on the streets, friendly and helpful, has changed a city. Everyone else is engaged and interacting. Of course, London will go back to its default setting of reserve but why don’t we all decide to act with a little more graciousness and charm? Bad behaviours are often unwittingly rewarded in firms, even when they just don’t accord with the stated values. It’s time to challenge that and ruthlessly weed out disruptive and destructive behaviours and foster constructive, engaged ways of doing business – every time. Just as those volunteers were given clear guidelines for positive behaviour, how can you ensure that what you value is in the DNA of the organisation and demonstrated in every single person’s behaviour?   5) Who really matters? Time and time again, when interviewed, athletes expressed gratitude – most often to their Mums, frequently their Dads, regularly their first sports coach. For some, those people are gone now – as referenced in the Wall of Remembrance during the opening ceremony. But for many of us those positive influencers are still around. Who inspired you to achieve your success? Do they know? Indulge yourself – get in touch and express your gratitude directly. How can you make this your leadership legacy, so that, one day, many people give you the credit and gratitude for inspiring, encouraging and believing in their ability to be their better selves? Research has shown that if you do something for a full month, it is incorporated into your behaviour and becomes a habit. We’ve only had two Olympic weeks. Let’s campaign to keep the best behaviours going from now until, and throughout, the Paralympics. We really could become a more positive, warm, considerate and re-energised people. Which is exactly what we need to face our ongoing economic challenges. Now off to the Closing ceremony – even if it is the Spice Girls, we are sure it will be fantastic!

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