How To Cultivate Office Champions

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How To Cultivate Office Champions
With the winter Olympics fully underway, many of us may watch each athlete in awe of the hard work it took for them to become champions. Well, gold medal or not, there are several ways to feel like a champion and work to become one in your everyday life. According to actual Olympic coaches, here’s how to work with an Olympic winner’s spirit, as taken from

Tailor coaching to individuals when you can
Bob Bowman, most known for coaching 23-time gold medalist Michael Phelps, realized people are individuals, and therefore they all need individual coaching plans:

“Some people respond to logic, others respond to motivation, while others just want to be left alone to do their job…Coaches and leaders alike must tailor their approach to the individual employee,” he’s quoted saying in a Fast Company interview.

Some employees may work better with one-on-ones, others through emails, etc. Realize what things you have the time to do individually for each employee.

Take a step back
Aimee Boorman, the American gymnastics coach who’s trained and mentored gold medalist Simone Biles, knows that there’s only so much a coach can do before it’s up to the athlete to do the rest of the work.

“It’s her gymnastics…She has to perform it, and she has to make the choices to home-school and work the extra hours and do the extra flexibility work. That has been her choice. I’m just her guide,” she says in a Houston Chronicle interview.

As a workplace leader, you hired each employee for a reason. You decided they could get the job done, and you should lead in a way that gives them the tools to do so without too much supervision.

Manage expectations
Former silver medalist and Olympic sailing coach Ian Barker always strives to keep his athletes grounded, especially during the most emotional of times.

The key, for him, is to equalize your expectations: “The levels of expectation should be similar. And you must ensure you keep those expectations aligned through constant communication…It helps if you work together a lot,” he says in an interview on

In the workplace, it’s motivating and necessary to step ambitious goals. However, it is important to break those down into realistic and doable expectations. This, as Barker mentioned, can be well-measured through constant communication.

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