Long-Distance Running’s Parallels to Team Leadership

shayne
March 7, 2022 | 2 min read

By Ashish Khot, CEO, TechnoMile

I am one of the 30% of current, active runners in the US who started running during the pandemic. More specifically, long-distance running has become a serious interest for me and I’ve found it’s given me new perspective on leading teams. Back in the day when I was an individual contributor, I was motivated to get ahead by outworking others and creating an immediate impact. But now, leading TechnoMile – an organization that grew its team by over 40% in 2021 and adapted its culture to embrace a more remote workforce – I realized I needed to change my mindset and long-distance running has helped with this evolution.

The first question my running coach asked me was “why do you want to excel at running?” and he also emphasized the importance of long, easy runs. The same ideas can be applied to leading teams. Context and persistence are critical, otherwise you risk having one-way conversations with your team and a lack of drive to finish the task and see goals through. “Going slow to go far” – that is, taking the time to get everyone on the same page – is helping our TechnoMile team get more focused. Another parallel I see relates to setting the pace. Early on, I was disappointed with my slow pace, but then I learned the importance of setting my own pace during my training runs. Applying the same principle to our TechnoMile team, we’re striving to enable our teams to do their best work at a sustainable pace. Just as a rest day is important in your training schedule as a runner, building periods of rest and recovery into our schedules is helping to create better work/life balance across our teams.

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