The Olympic Games saw leadership exemplified by so many people in so many different roles - both formal and informally. So, who were some of these leaders and what did they do to make a difference? From a formal leadership perspective we have Lord Seb Coe, Chair of LOCOG, who coined the London 2012 motto 'inspire a generation'. You need only to talk to a few youngsters, visit your local sports centre or even browse through your Facebook homepage to know that it did! I say this, as I pack up my things to head off to my first taste of pole vaulting!
Then there is everyone who did an outstanding job in various support roles - including performance services, volunteers and gamesmakers - hundreds of individuals who took on shared ownership of making the Games a success, living and breathing the Team GB values and turning their 'One Team' vision into a reality as they developed the collective identity of the nation. Coaches were also pivotal in the leadership space during the Games, putting the needs of the athletes first and providing support and feedback as appropriate, often needing to flex their style for different team members. And of course, there were the athletes themselves, providing role models for individuals all around the world.
If you'll indulge me a little in my background, I'd like to tell you a story of someone who is both a coach and athlete in the sport of dressage, and I think his behaviour at the Games epitomised great leadership.
Carl Hester, 2012 Olympic Team Gold Medallist himself, simultaneously trained Charlotte Dujardin to double Olympic victory, both as a member of the Gold-winning team and as Individual Olympic Dressage Champion.
From the time I spent based with Carl I know the degree to which he supports young riders and acts as a role model for them. Charlotte was riding the great Valegro, a horse half owned by Carl, and I think it is testament to his character and dedication to developing others that he was more than happy to reward Charlotte's hard work and determination by letting her ride this fantastic horse which he could have so easily taken the ride on himself.
The relationship that Carl and Charlotte have built up over the years means that he knows what to say to her when to stimulate her best performance. On the way to the event, reminding her of the vision of Olympic victory, he said to her "'Some people wish it will happen, some people think it will happen and you are going to make it happen", a statement that may have frightened some people, but not Charlotte.
Carl has his sights on the future of the sport; boosting its participation and recognition are part of the all-important big picture goal for him and he recognises that this does not necessarily mean achieving as an individual but by empowering others to succeed he can often achieve much more. Carl watched Charlotte ride into Gold medal position in the individual competition as he finished in 5th, and I'm sure these wouldn't have been the words of everyone "I'm so excited for Charlotte and Laura (who finished in Bronze) as the new generation of British riders, securing the future of the sport by delivering at the top level. I feel equally happy as if I'd won Gold myself, being trainer to Charlotte and part owner to Valegro, nurturing this talent has given me great pleasure." Now, I think that is a testament to great leadership.
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