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Gold Medal Leadership Lessons from Christie Rampone

July 31, 2012 by Stacey DiNuzzo, Public Relations Manager, Disney Institute

With Friday’s opening ceremonies in the books and the Olympics Games now officially underway, we can’t help but be reminded of the similarities between business and sports. We work in teams, we recognize the need for good communication and we rely on leadership to guide us.

Christie Rampone is a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner, once in 2004 and as a team captain in 2008. She has played in four World Cup finals and will lead her team in their 2012 bid for gold in London.  Christie, in her five years as captain, believes that a great leader boils down to a few “no-nonsense” principles:

Stop talking so much: Leading is not always as much about speaking up as it is about listening. She describes her role as, “less talk and more keen observation.”

Don’t gossip: The foundation of trust between two teammates (or colleagues) is formed in the one-on-one conversations where concern is expressed confidence. Christie won’t ever express a concern or issue using someone’s name or specific quotes, that way, it’s the issue being addressed, not the person.

Stop saying yes: You simply cannot always afford to be a “yes” person. Knowing when to say no requires prioritization. “Sometimes saying no is harder in the short term, but if you know it’s best for your team in the long run, it’s worth it.”

Roll up your sleeves: Build credibility by putting the group before yourself—put in the work each and every day. That way, when you have made a mistake or have to make a tough decision, your team will realize you’re thinking big picture.

Walk the walk: You’ve heard, “actions speak louder than words.” Your demeanor and attitude, especially in times of stress or worry, set the tone for the rest of your team. Make enthusiasm and poise a natural part of your behavior and watch your team follow suit.

DON’T FORGET: Tomorrow marks the return of Twitter Chats with @DisneyInstitute. Join us at noon EST for an engaging chat around the topic of Creativity & Innovation.

Photo Credit: Inc.com


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