The Dark Side of High Performance

Disturbing news from Olympic and Paralympic sport recently, with a few high-profile allegations of bullying in teams where athletes have felt vulnerable and unsupported. We call this the dark side of high performance, the inevitable consequence of pushing all the dials into the red zone, without the ability to fully rest, recover and recharge.

Similarly, many businesses now operate right up to their red lines, with little or no capacity to take on the unexpected but inevitable crises that arise. When chronically over-extended, people get burned out, leaders lose perspective and transmit their stress onto their teams, and organizations become dehumanised, losing the ability to relate to individual needs and well-being.

The challenge for all leaders is to meet and exceed the demands of clients, shareholders and stakeholders, whilst maintaining personal and corporate wellbeing. How can you do this? Well, here are four things that work:

  1. Leaders need to filter external pressures, whilst focusing attention onto the key processes and purpose that the team is there to deliver. Our 1-1 coaching helps leaders to see these big picture challenges, and develop personal presence, perspective and authority to deliver them. Click here to find out more.
  2. Manage energy. 10 years on from the launch of the iPhone, this HBR article is even more relevant. “To effectively re-energize their workforces, organizations need to shift their emphasis from getting more out of people to investing more in them, so they are motivated—and able—to bring more of themselves to work every day. To recharge themselves, individuals need to recognize the costs of energy-depleting behaviours and then take responsibility for changing them, regardless of the circumstances they’re facing”.
  3. Be present. When our brains are stressed they look ahead to future threats, or dwell on past problems. Here’s how Google uses mindfulness to help their staff to thrive in the fastest business on earth.
  4. Keep building relationships in your teams and across your organization. Human contact and dialogue will refresh, re-invigorate and re-direct individuals and teams to bounce back and stay on track. We’re excited about a new approach to supporting conversations, action and insight called Actionable Conversations. We’ll be sharing more about this in the coming months. For a preview, here’s a 4 minute video.

Performance doesn’t have to come at a human cost. To learn how to humanise performance in your context, call William (07962 243644) or Jonathan (07711 068874).

Contact us:

Office: +44 (0)20 8216 3775
Jonathan: +44 (0)7711 068874
William: +44 (0)7962 243644



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