The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Leadership


Over the last few weeks we have witnessed some wonderful examples of strong and considered leadership and conversely some very poor ones as well.

The Black Caps’ captain Brendon McCallum exemplified all the qualities of great leadership. By leading from the front, taking bold decisions, being humble in victory and dignified in defeat he created a team culture that brought the best out in everyone. He was able to galvanise the “Will and Skill” of the team to take them collectively and individually to the edge of their potential. More importantly he galvanised the nation behind them and had previously non- followers of the game converted to an exciting brand of cricket.


Contrast that with the leadership shown by the coaches and senior players in the Australian cricket team and along with the behaviour of some of the parents of the St Bedes’ rowing team. The respective 'win at all cost' tactics deployed by both manifested in arrogance, bully boy behaviours, brashness and seemingly a complete ignorance or disregard to the consequences to their sports and the example it set as leaders and parents. It will be argued by the “get hard or go home” advocates that this is what is necessary to win. History shows the result of this sort of behaviour in business and sport is usually short lived and unsustainable. Indeed the public reaction to both events suggested both were the losers in the way they behaved and undermined the credibility of both sporting codes and particularly in the latter case the role of parents to be role models and set good examples for others.

rowing same direction

There is a great quote by Jim Rohn which I believe sums up the difference of the leadership displayed by Brendon and his team and the others mentioned.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude; be kind but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud but not arrogant, have humour, but without folly.”

The Australian cricket team and St Bede’s parents may have thought they won the battle but I think they lost the war. The Principal of St Bedes and The Captain and Coach of the Black Caps are to be commended in their response.


 by Paul Bell

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