By Paul Boston

Performance…it seems these days this word tends to be on most people’s minds–whether in business, politics, or, yes, even sports. Performance is one of those terms that has become generic in our culture. In most organizations, performance usually falls somewhere in the area of performance management systems, operational efficiencies, and productivity. With new and evolving ways to manage and develop human performance in the workplace, it is easy to lose sight of the human element of performance.

I have been fortunate over my professional and athletic careers to have worked with people who are world-class performers, most recently while attending the Toronto Pan Am games. All the athletes competing at the games are extremely talented and gifted in their sports. They are very focused, and committed to performing at their best for these games. What we do not necessarily see, and something we can learn from watching these athletes perform, is that their performance goes well beyond the training programs and “performance management” systems they use. A large portion of their world-class performance is a result of solid performance leadership coming from their coaches, trainers, and sporting federations.

Here are a few performance leaderships practices from the world of sports that you can start to implement in your organization.

Have a Vision

Whether you lead a team of two or 20,000, you need a vision that people can live by daily. This requires personal meaning so employees feel a sense of passion about the work they are doing.

Care about People

Put “performance” and “results” aside (yes, I actually just said that!), and really start to take a genuine interest in the people you lead. This could be something as simple as getting to know your team members at a personal level.

Always Do the Right Thing

Being a leader is very hard work, despite what we see on TV. It is very important to always do the “right” thing even when it may not be popular. You will be surprised that once these types of decisions are made how much respect you will gain from the people you lead.

These are just a “few” common practices of leaders who are able to get their people to perform at their best. Yes, operational systems are important, but we can never overlook that great performance is a human endeavor, and the only way people will perform at their best is by having leaders in place who lead the people toward performing at their best.

About the Author
Paul Boston
Paul Boston is the president of Actus Performance Inc., a high-performance development firm. Paul started his professional career working in the fast-paced and demanding world of marketing and advertising with Fortune 500 companies and organizations around the globe. At the same time, he started racing at the elite level of triathlons and qualified four times for the World Triathlon Championships. At that time, he discovered similarities between the approach to performance in his athletic and professional career. He then went back to school to study adult training and development, specializing in workplace performance skills. As an organizational high-performance development specialist, Paul works with clients to help them understand the fundamental performance values, attitudes, and skills people, teams, and organizations need in our ever-changing modern-day work world. Paul has published numerous articles and spoken to professional organizations across North America on 21st-century workplace performance skills. For more information, please visit