Peter Watson, Director of Impact Facilitation, was a guest conversationist at The Whisky Circle. Peter specialises in training and coaching Team Leaders to build highly effective teams, with a special focus on not-for-profits in NSW, Australia.
Peter supplied us the following article, which I have republished with permission.
5 Team Leadership Lessons I Learned from Running 41 Marathons
- Don’t let the great run after bad preparation lull you into regularly winging it. Yes, occasionally I have run a great marathon (well, great for an average runner like me) with an underdone training schedule, but the truth is the majority of my most enjoyable marathons happened as a result of a good preparation. So always prepare well for your leadership role.
- Always, always be early. One of the most unsexy aspects of running a marathon is lining up for the loo before the race. You don’t want to be late and at the back of the line. Turn up early and get the unsexy parts of your preparation done early. So, a second leadership lesson is, if you have food or a presentation to prepare for your team, turn up early so that you are ready and relaxed when the team arrives.
- Have a goal for every race. Know before the race whether you are going for a PB or whether this is a long-run in preparation for another event. Your goal determines how you run the race. Your team event goal determines how you lead your team meeting.
- Despite your goal, another important leadership lesson is: be willing to be flexible on the day. For the average runner no one race will make or break your running career. Sometimes I have turned up with the goal of running easy and ended up running a PB, but mostly it has been about downgrading my expectations on a day because my body just wasn’t ready for a big push. So have a plan for your event but be willing to change it up or down. After all running a successful team is a marathon not a sprint!
- Reflect on and learn from every race. In most of my marathons I have ended up running alongside another runner and inevitably I ask them what helps them do their best. In nearly every race I learn from someone a technique about food, or training or blisters that I can apply to my next race. So, reflect on your team meetings, and ask for advice from others, so you can keep learning and improve your team leadership.