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 3:25 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