The Real Importance of Leadership

A couple of days ago my sister found this old clipping from 1986 and sent it to me.

This is an article about the time I started a rugby team in an area where there was zero history of rugby league, and the next nearest team was over 50 miles away.

But I was determined

I started the team by placing an ad in a Rugby Magazine, hoping that maybe there were some other players in the area, and that they too would be interested in playing again.

I remember the first training session there were three of us and we played 2 against 1 – which yes is as tough as it sounds.

I managed to persuade a few friends to join the training, not with a goal of playing, but helping to move the training forward. But everyone that trained with us went on to play at least one.

Within 3 or four weeks we had a squad of around 10-1é who were turning up weekly to train. This was more progress than I expected to make in a short period of time, and with that, I signed us up to play in the Midlands League, where every away game involved at least 50 miles of travel.

For our first game, we only had 12 players, and you needed 13 to complete the starting lineup. To make the numbers I called my brother and one of my best friends Shaun, who both drove over 100 miles to play – and luckily Shaun was able to bring a kit from his local rugby team so we would be able to play in the same colours.

Sadly, we lost our first game, I don’t remember the score, but it was close something like 23-21, we were leading but let it slip just at the end. We were playing a team that had done well and had won the league the year before, but that was it for us, the local Leicester players now had the bug and started to recruit friends, to come and join and give it a go.

At the next session, we had over 20 people turn up to train, just 2 1/2 months after it started with me and ad an in the rugby paper.

I played for the team for two seasons, captaining them to an unbeaten league title, where we played 20 and won 20 games.

Now you might be thinking that, for me, that was a great achievement, starting with nothing to being league champions within just 2 seasons.

But to be honest, the thing that I am most proud of is that, 35 years later, and 33 years after my involvement ended, the team is still going. Not only is it still going but in 2015 it applied to join the Professional League, and now runs 2 teams.

That’s what gives me the sense of achievement, not winning a trophy once, but creating something that has sustained, leaving a legacy.

In every leadership position I have held, I have always try and do the same. Yes you want to achieve the goals, but you also want to have a lasting impact, to share your passion, your approach, to build a culture that not only endures but goes on to achieve success in your absence as well as in your presence.

To me, that’s a real leadership legacy.

If your team can only be successful in your presence, then you’re not a real leader, you’re a limitiation.

Real leadership is about passing on what you know, nurturing, helping, and positioning people so that they can be successful long after you have gone.

If you want to know more about being a great leader email me at gordon@gordontredgold.com and lets find some time to talk about how i can help.