PAURIC GRIMES: The importance of showing leadership

“A LEADER is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” Lao Tzu.

Something I’ve been doing more of this year is working directly with businesses on their staff wellness. Going out and delivering workshops on a range of topics to help build a healthier, happier and a more robust workforce.

What manager doesn’t want a more productive team? What member of the team doesn’t want looked after with education and support around their personal wellness?

It’s been really interesting to see the evolution of conversations at the workshops as we go through them. Leadership is a topic which is rarely thought about when we begin but “how to be a better leader” is a question that’s always put forward before I leave the room.

Leadership in sport and being a leader in your own life can mirror each other a lot more than you’d think.

Tyrone suffered defeat to Roscommon at the weekend and from what I heard, once Mattie Donnelly left the field the tide truly turned and the game slipped away from them.

Take away a leader and it will never fail to impact those left behind.

There are countless leadership styles. Men have made careers on dissecting the different ways that people can lead. It’s usually this time of the year when you start to see the Cadbury Creme Egg “How do you eat yours?” ads on things.

They were super clever. They must have had 20 odd crazy different ways to bury those lovely bites of chocolately goodness, but the thing is that it didn’t matter how you are the thing, it was still just a cream egg.

Leadership styles isn’t a million miles away from having a crack at a cream egg, how you get to the end point of eating the thing will be individual but the essence of what it is stays the same.

Leaders share values, values which we could all do with taking note of and giving more time, energy and attention to in our own lives.

Because by doing just that we ourselves begin to be leaders and we positively influence those around us. Our work colleagues, our friends and most importantly our family.

Too many retired players hang up the boots and feel like some of the values that where so important when playing – ie. being a leader – are no longer relevant. Wrong. In fact, the opposite could quite easily be argued. Now is the team when you really need to step up.

The very best leaders I’ve seen, in sport and business, are incredible at empowering those around them. Leaders build leaders. Do you do that? Or is your first reaction to chop someone down?

They have a clear vision of what they want their future to look like, both short term and long. Could you tell me what you want your next year to look like? How about your next ten?

They are great communicators. A lot of people think this means they’re great speakers, charismatic and excellent story-telling, and for some this is the case but more often than not it’s that they ask the right questions and listen intently to the answers. Do you need to ask better questions? Could you be a better listener?

Great leaders are resilient. They aren’t afraid to fail. They play the infinite game. They take full responsibility for the successes and failures. Do you get disheartened when things aren’t going your way? Are you quick to pass the buck?

And without fail, and much surprise at times, the best leaders I have seen all share two common values which are lost on so many – humility and respect.

World champions sweeping the changing rooms. The most successful manager in football sending birthday cards to the dinner ladies.

They don’t forget where they came from regardless of what success they’ve had.  You don’t have to be a “leader” to show great leadership each and every day.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John Maxwell.

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