Event – The Edge: Lessons from sport for leaders
At the Edge 2014, Richard Hytner, author of Consgilieri: Leading from the Shadows, joined Western Australian iconic coach Ric Charlesworth and award-winning Times journalist and former ten times GB table tennis champion Matthew Syed to discuss lessons for leadership from the world of sport.
Drawing on insights gleaned from golf, cycling, football, and tennis, Richard delivered a provocation that playing in ‘second’ positions in sport, as in life, can be just as satisfying as being the ‘first’ – the captain, the manager, the striker. Backing up his argument, Richard mentioned interviews with Sir David Brailsford–throwing light on the importance of the cycling supremo’s inner circle – fixer Fran Millar, ‘educator’ Dr Steve Peters; with David Gill to put Sir Alex Ferguson’s use of consiglieri under the microscope, notably the role of Gill himself and ‘loadstone’ Michael Phelan; with Carlo Ancelotti’s ‘educator’ Bruno Demichelis, as well as assistant coach, Paul Clement to describe how the best A leaders get the best out of their C leaders.
Hytner urged business leaders from City A.M, Ashurst, Alliance, Numis, Saracens and others to try both A and C leadership roles, to be aware of the tendencies to the dark side in both types of leader and instead to nurture a relationship steeped in mutual trust and constant reflection.
Ric Charlesworth, spoke of teams that were leaderful, not reliant on a single captain, warning that focus on a singular captain invariably reduces the commitment of other natural leaders in a team. His advice demands to be heard. Ric retired from coaching after Australia’s triumphant World Cup victory at the 2014 World Cup in the Hague in June this year with the team clear in the rankings as World number one. Two weeks later the team won Gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. In four World Cups and three Olympic Games as coach of Australia, Ric’s teams won Gold on 6 occasions and once won bronze–an unparalleled record.
Matthew Syed talked of talent being overrated and outlined substantive proof that deliberate practice and hard graft were more important than inherited, natural gifts. He should know. Before becoming a writer Syed was the England table tennis number one for almost a decade, three-times Commonwealth Champion, and twice competed for Great Britain in the Olympic Games (in Barcelona in 1992 and Sydney in 2000).« Back to Media Articles