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How champions differ from the rest of us

Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger

What makes some people run faster, jump higher, throw further and hit harder than the rest of us? Is it the same things that differentiate great managers from merely good managers?

They have no self doubt. They are ruthless. Obsessive. They love what they do. It’s as if they have been vaccinated against mediocrity, they can’t explain how they do it because they don’t properly understand it themselves they just know what to do when. They are not normal. And this gift does not last forever. This is a sports journalists description of Olympic champions and others who have reached the very top of their sport. Is the same true of the very best managers?

Many are born with the physical which lends its self to athleticism, a better sense of balance, good eye and hand coordination, taller than the average but very few translate this into gold medals. Other things come into play like a mental strength, that means they are prepared to push themselves harder, a single mindedness which means they focus on their goal at the expense of everything else and of course opportunity, some one somewhere spotted the potential, provided encouraging, coaching and mentoring. What’s true of elite athletes is also true of the very best managers.

To be a great manager you don’t need an athletes body although you do need the mental discipline  and emotional attributes of those who perform at the top of their sport. Exceptional managers don’t have to be arrogant but are extremely confident in their own abilities. They can be ruthless when the situation requires. They are frequently described by those who know them as obsessive. They love what they do. They never settle for mediocrity. They have good instincts.

Frustratingly for the rest of us when the greats try and explain how they do it they leave us non the wiser. Most will willingly admit they learnt a lot from people who managed them, that they had inspiring role models, at least one significant mentor, opportunities not everyone has and the luck to be in the right place at the right time on at least one occasion.

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