Andy Murray – feel the love!

Andy Murray

I’m sure I wasn’t the only person to shed a tear at the sight of Andy Murray lifting the Wimbledon trophy above his head on Sunday. It was a fantastic, hard-won and emotional victory. Reflecting on Andy Murray’s progress over the last few years I realised that emotion has played a major part in his development as a player and has contributed to the remarkable increase in his fan-base. Success is often helped by having a loyal and strong following – in sport as well as in business – and it is important to understand that emotion is a key factor in both contexts.

Three years ago Andy Murray was a difficult character to like. He had a fan-base but had not earned a great deal of support from the general public. He was criticised for being moody and stony-faced – someone who was so focussed on his sport that he was a ‘closed-book’ to observers. That all changed last year when, on losing the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer, Murray found it hard to speak through his tears of disappointment. These were not carefully planned tears, put on for PR purposes, but genuine sobs that he tried so hard to fight back. It was this display of emotion that won him support and affection from a wider audience. What people saw on that day was a human being with emotions and feelings like everyone else. Here was a man who, in that emotional interview, showed the world how badly he wanted to win and how deeply he felt his failure. And by displaying that emotion, albeit not in a calculated way, Andy Murray won the hearts of people who, from then on, would follow him more closely and with more commitment than before.

In the business context we can see that sometimes it is necessary for followers to see the human side of their leader. The tough, macho style of leadership is becoming a thing of the past. People give their commitment and loyalty to those who are capable of displaying emotion now and again. No one wants a leader who sobs at every set-back or who flies into a rage when things don’t go as planned. But neither are we attracted to those whose steely determination to succeed makes them unapproachable, insensitive and detached. We need some kind of human connection with leaders before we are ready to make an emotional commitment to them in return. And it is the leader who is prepared to show some passion and sensitivity who is likely to win that level of commitment.

I cried for Andy Murray because I had witnessed his own tears a year ago. Like so many other people I supported him because I knew just how important winning was to him. That emotional connection with those who we follow is as important in business as it is in sport. Well done Andy, and feel the love!


Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

Latest posts from my blog