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Lead Like Richie

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A topic that is often discussed is leadership. Loads of people claim that they have exceptional leadership qualities, yet when you talk to their peers or employees, this is not the case. If there is good leadership in the business, then the business will do well. And that is quite often correct. But how do you get there? How do you inspire teams to get up after the hard knocks and get on with it?

One person who comes to mind when discussing leadership is none other than Richie McCaw. He has been at the top of his game for over a decade now and has captained the All Blacks an incredible 100 times. How does someone do that for such a long time? It is no easy task due to the fact that every Kiwi kid’s dream is to play for the All Blacks. The competition must be intense. As we approach the World Cup, it is looking like Richie will be hanging up the boots.

When we were dumped out of the World Cup in 2007 (as painful as it is to remember), there were calls for Richie’s head, due to his ‘leadership’ not being up to scratch. How could the French beat us to our worst ever placing in a World Cup? Both Richie and Graham Henry kept their jobs and went into glory in the 2011 competition. Now, I must think – how hard was it for Richie to get back on the horse? With all the doubters and negative publicity swirling, it would have been easier to quit. This is where he showed his mettle. He not only worked hard, but worked harder than he ever had to regain the public’s approval. He is now considered an absolute legend for his longevity and ability to rally the troops.

One example that really sticks in my mind is a game where Richie had been out with an injury – again, there were doubts. He played like he was possessed; the whole team lifted. Even on the last kick, he was the first man on the ball.

There is a common theme in all of Richie’s actions; he leads by example. Leading by example is the best quality a leader can have – in any situation. If your leader is prepared to get in the trenches with you, that is fantastic for morale and motivation for the team. They can read all the books they like on leadership, but simply lending a hand or giving some advice works wonders. Richie is always the first one to training and the last to leave. He is passionate, dedicated, and completely focused on what he does. And because he leads by example, this resonates with the team. Fingers crossed this will help us lift the Webb Ellis Cup again!