Raised by a father who coached for 35 years, the first lesson he taught me was to walk into a locker room and take in or feel the atmosphere and the energy.  He was teaching me what winning coaches did to be successful and I’ve learned how they can be applied by business leaders to create a successful business. He explained that you could “feel” this winning atmosphere if you were paying attention.   He also said coaches and leaders manage this atmosphere and it’s in the air all the time. He said it was more important than any of the x’s and o’s of coaching.
Growing up listening to coaches’ share their views, thoughts and leadership styles was a huge advantage later in my business career. Listening to pregame, halftime and postgame speeches taught me how to manage and maintain this atmosphere and I share this as often as I can with other leaders.
I was always amazed to watch a game or practice with my father or other coaches as they constantly paid attention to how things felt. I realized later that the average ones were focused on their process and not their players. This is similar to business, as we too often get lost in our process and forget about the people involved.
Next time you walk into a sales office, store or business, see how it feels.  Leaders manage the air.  They do this by managing the attitudes, feelings and beliefs of the people in their business, organization or life.  This is why a business that wants to make customers must manage its people’s attitudes, feelings and beliefs first. Consumers won’t believe your company is different if your people aren’t and your people won’t act different if their attitude isn’t different. ‘People first leaders’ manage the air or atmosphere generated by people’s attitudes.
‘People first leadership’, isn’t a fluffy fad or esoteric idea, but the first step in increasing sales and growth in business in the ‘new economy’.  Its ‘people first’ focus means a leader has to have strong enough conviction to stick to a game plan or strategy when others around them are growing weary or wanting to overreact to unwanted results.
‘People first leaders’ develop people in their business who are mentally tough enough to execute the strategy when others would falter or take the path of least resistance.
By managing the attitudes, feelings and beliefs of your people, you are leading from where results are born.   From the attitudes that lead to actions, the results will be seen in your increase revenue, profits and growth.  You are leading from an advanced position and not waiting to react to unwanted results that were generated from behavior that was caused by attitudes that were ignored.
Leadership at its essence, generates results by getting people to perform at their highest level of competence. When leaders do this they are also growing the level of people’s competence and insuring growth and higher performance in the future.
Use the attitudes, skills and actions of great coaches who have led their teams to championships by instilling a winning attitude, mental toughness and the ability to overcome the excuses their competitors accept to be average.  Coaches like John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, Pat Riley, Don Shula, Pat Summit, Phil Jackson, Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and many others, win and have won because they ‘manage the air’ or attitudes that produce winners. Ultimately, they are ‘people first leaders’ who challenge others to be better than they would be without their influence. They move people to do the things they don’t want to do that produce the results they want.
Business in the ‘new economy’ requires an attitude to make customers, not just sales. Instill this in the hearts of people so that it permeates the air in your business and it will generate improved results and growth.
Stop, listen and feel the attitudes in your business. Can you sense the ‘winning air’? If not, get busy and make it a priority, then manage it daily for the best results.
By Mike Moore
  1. Great post. I haven’t seen that much written about this, I guess because it’s so intangible. Even as a young guy it struck me the people, and the quality of relationships at all levels, are the true core of business. I’m often amazed by people who are completely oblivious to ‘the air’, so I’m left thinking that this is something that we have or we don’t. In teaching and coaching it’s also easy to get stuck on process without reading the mood of the individual or group. Anyway, thanks again.

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