Helen Green

The 6 Styles of Leadership

With fresh legs and new impetus the 6 Nations Rugby Championship gets underway this weekend.

Over the next six weeks rugby fans will stand shoulder to shoulder as they cheer on or despair at their team’s performance. As with last year’s World Cup, sports pages will be full of commentaries; highlighting areas such as team cohesiveness, leadership and decision-making.

As you would expect from an international competition, the six captains all have their own individual styles of leadership and whilst long-standing captains Sam Warburton, Greg Laidlaw and Sergio Parisse have matured their approach the other three are more of an unknown quantity on the international leadership stage.

Who will be the winners and losers in this year’s leadership stakes? Who will demonstrate qualities such as calmness and clear decision-making under pressure; who will lead by example with a professional and positive attitude; most importantly of all, who will create the conditions which will enable every member of their team to play to the best of their ability, and then more?

There are few industries in which leadership and decision-making is quite so out in the open. For the majority of leaders the shop window on their leadership style comes from carefully scripted interviews, the products themselves and financial results. But in rugby, as with other team sports, on the field leadership is instantly visible. However, even in the sporting arena visible leadership only represents the culmination of a considerable amount of work which is out of the public eye. A rugby team is not made solely on the pitch. At the end of the day, the winners may be those who have worked hardest behind the scenes to build a true team mentality.