[MMM] Leadership is about Being Gracious in Winning & Losing

Happy Monday Morning!


To be frank I’m not a huge sports fan. However, over this past month you really couldn’t have been near any public place without noticing the excitement about a small round ball.


Some have said this World Cup was one of the most exciting in its history.


I was struck by a few great leadership moments that I observed about both France and Croatia in the finals.


Kylian Mbappe is the second highest paid player in professional soccer and the leader of France’s World Cup winning team. Right from the early days of his childhood, there was one word spoken of him when he touched a soccer ball.


“Sensationnel” or “Wow” in English.


Antonio Richard was one of Kylian’s early influential coaches. He shared that, “Kylian did everything, better, faster and more often than his peers. He had an unusual style; he loved to dribble and to skate past opponents.”
Antonio refined his style but never told him to stop. He recognized early the strength of his playing style and that he was at his best when he played that style. He encouraged his unusual and free-flowing style.


It’s a great example of what smart leaders do. It’s always bothered me that many leaders focus on what’s not working rather than on what is working.


I prefer to take an 80/20 approach. 80% of a leader’s conversations, energy and time would be best focused on identifying and encouraging the strength of their team members’ styles. The remaining 20% is best used on on what needs to be changed.


I am not sure if you noticed but on the losing side of the final game Kolind Graber-Kitarovic, President of Croatia, while an enthusiastic supporter (only missing one game) congratulated everyone on both her team and on Team France. I thought it was a great example as a leader of recognizing and celebrating everyone involved on both sides. What a strong statement of validation from the traditional way she may have responded. Croatia was never meant to go this far within The World Cup. In spite of her clear disappointment in the final result, she could see beyond this and celebrated the fantastic run of her country’s team.


Often we see leadership as winning and losing. I think a better definition of leadership is honoring the individual’s strengths and the effort committed in the desire to get better.


Along the road with you!




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