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Carlos Rey García:

Carlos Rey García: "Leadership is a dynamic process"

June 10, 2022

Leadership and motivation are two indispensable ingredients in the success of any project, and both are necessary for the personal and professional development of an individual.

But can the ability to lead be trained? How important is emotional management when it comes to leading teams? How important is motivation when making a change in our life?

  • Related article: "Types of Leadership: The 5 most common leader classes"

Interview with Carlos Rey García, co-founder of UPAD Psychology and Coaching

To solve the above doubts and some more talk to Carlos Rey García, co-founder of UPAD Psychology and Coaching, one of the most important centers of therapy and personal development in Madrid.


Good morning Carlos! It is common to find ourselves with the popular belief that psychology is focused exclusively on the abnormally negative part of the human psyche, that is, on the treatment and prevention of mental disorders. However, you have gambled strongly not only for that part traditionally linked to the work of the psychologist, but also to the one that appeals to the population without diagnosable mental problems or even to the abnormally positive population, as an example of psychological excellence and excellence. What motivated you to do it?

Indeed, we have never liked this cliché of problematic professionals, we also come from a field, that of sports, which is more oriented to this type of improvement plots.


Positive and humanistic psychology have had a lot of influence on our methodology, we like to think that people give the best of themselves when they focus their "problems" as challenges to overcome and not as problems in themselves. In this way and after years of working with athletes, we understood the importance of work by objectives and we came to the conclusion that there are many areas of our experience that may require the advice of a professional to optimize their functioning, but at the psychological level all these areas share psychological variables and objectives to fulfill, in our case everything is reduced to three; performance (behaviors), well-being (feelings) and satisfaction (thoughts). Aligning and optimizing them is our biggest challenge.

When you talk about different areas of action that may require your professional advice, what do you mean exactly?


I refer basically to that normally, as in sports, we usually act in competitive areas, in interaction or opposition with other people and, therefore, there are parallels when it comes to addressing the challenges of different types of users.

At UPAD we have worked with athletes of all kinds, with professionals from different fields who wanted to improve their skills or better manage different situations. We have also prepared opponents to face a challenge as complex as overcoming an opposition. Musicians, artists, dancers, professional poker players, introverted and insecure people who wanted to improve their way of relating to others ... I do not know, endless scenarios, that after all, share a basis. The way we manage our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. That's where we offer our help and try to generate value.

In your work you advise athletes and workers helping them to improve themselves, and surely one of the most important psychological variables in personal growth is motivation. In fact, if a person is not motivated to change, it is impossible for them to do so. But what role does motivation play to achieve our goals, both personal and professional? Why are there people who, despite wanting to change, never take the step to do so?


So is. Personally, I like to compare motivation with the engine of a vehicle. We all have one, but we do not always know where we want to go. Sometimes even, knowing it, we choose the gasoline that we administer to you badly. If we fill the tank with pressure, we will be subject to a negative motivation, because we will do what we have to do to avoid something unpleasant. However, if we learn to fill it with enthusiasm, we can focus more on the positive character of the motivation and we will enjoy the trip, even before reaching our goals. Knowing how to manage well is gasoline is fundamental to persevere and enjoy, whatever our destination.

Regarding those people who want to change do not finish doing so, we should analyze the case in question, but usually we find that the opening to change is subject to the underlying expectations.Based on these expectations, we can find people who face such changes as opportunities to achieve something better (motivation to achieve success), compared to others who may consider them a potential threat to themselves (motivation to ward off failure - comfort zone ). In this sense, it is very important for the final decision we make, towards where we perceive that the balance is tilted, if it is towards motivation or towards fear.


One of the services that you offer at UPAD is Business Coaching, and one of the most talked about topics in companies is leadership. Research on work stress concludes that the relationship between superiors and subordinates can be a stressor or, on the contrary, can increase the performance of a worker and keep him motivated. What characteristics do you think a good leader should have?

Normally we find a clash between different styles of leadership within the organizational world, which invites us to decide on the suitability of some styles over others. So negative can be the excessive control exercised by a manager over his team of experts, such as the lack of clear guidelines that an apprentice needs. What I mean by this, is that leadership is a dynamic process, which changes from person to person and from objective to objective.


Each situation has different characteristics and will require the leader to adopt some positions or others to achieve the objectives set. Therefore, I personally consider that a good leader has to fulfill some requirements among others such as proactivity (sow to pick up, continue to be followed), coherence and integrity (preaching by example and showing alignment with what is said and done ), flexibility in their style (to adapt to the changing needs of situations), communication (to project credibility and influence and transmit faith in the achievement of objectives), emotional intelligence (to manage difficult situations and manage conflicts), listen and delegate (to generate commitment, contemplating different points of view and involving the team in decisions or actions), and give feedback, provide direction and motivate them to feel part of the achievements.

There are many courses and workshops on leadership, but ... can this skill be trained or is it basically innate?

Well, as in any other field of knowledge or any skill, I consider that we all come with a potential talent as a series, although this one needs to be developed in the social field, that is, in coexistence with others. Since we are essentially born alone and necessarily need others to be able to lead, I consider innateness in this case as an inappropriate approach, since it is during situations of social interaction that we can increase learning about the action of leading.

Another thing is how we define leadership. If we consider it as a mere skill, in a certain way static or innate, or on the contrary, as a dynamic and interactive process.


In my personal case, I favor the second option, that is, I consider leadership a process that consists of a series of underlying skills and, of course, susceptible to development, although there are different levels of potential in each person.

Perhaps there is more and more information on how to lead others, but what about self-leadership? Undoubtedly, it is a key element in personal and professional development, which allows us to overcome adversities and stay organized and motivated over time. How can we improve this mental capacity?

I would even say that necessarily to be able to lead others you have to start with yourself. If you are not in a position to offer it to yourself, how can you offer it to others?


The requirements for its development also imply an effort of self-knowledge, of establishing goals and persevering in its attainment. All aligned with the previously indicated characteristics.

Emotional intelligence, which plays a key role in our personal development, is one of the great paradigms of today. And in the company, what role does it play? There is more and more talk of emotional leadership.

Emotional intelligence is a basic ability to achieve adequate self-regulation. Knowing how to interpret the situations that I face and based on it, what feelings I experience and the consequences they have on my attitudes and final behaviors, is essential to achieve any goal that I set.

Sometimes it is necessary to learn to modify my thoughts about a certain situation in order to adapt to it in a functional or valid way, renouncing other types of thinking criteria more focused on the criterion of truthfulness than functionality. In those cases, in which people find justifications for their dysfunctional reactions when reaching certain objectives, I like to tell them the following words ... "It's true. You're right, and what's the use? " If the answer is "to get away from my goals," emotional leadership is failing.


In an increasingly individualistic society, companies value the ability of their employees to work as a team. Why do you think teamwork is so important in the workplace?

We could enter into a fabulous "conspiracy" debate about the interests of the creation of societies centered on the individual, but surely this is not the objective of this interview. I will just recommend the Adam Curtis documentary, The century of the self for a greater understanding of the prevailing individualism.


Regarding the importance of teamwork, I think that my answer may even be trivial, but basically I will limit myself to exposing here the concept of synergy. Synergy is a concept extracted from biology, which reflects the importance of the joint action of a series of elements on a general function. Any company that boasts, acts as the human body to find an example. We have a head, lungs, heart, kidneys and a long list of organs that fulfill certain functions. It is useless to have the best heart, if this one does not execute its action in a joint way with the rest of the organs of the body. Well, in an organization it happens the same, if there are no synergies, you lose sight of the general objective of the body, which is none other than to survive and function as adequately as possible.



Madrid | Wikipedia audio article (June 2022).


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