Developing leaders – building outside interests to understand one’s belief and ability to impact

There is a story that the great All Blacks team, post defeat in the 2007 RWC, ensured that all their players spent time and worked with outside interests so they could broaden their mind-sets, knowledge and understanding. It had been felt that the players had been so intense on their rugby that when the moment of real pressure came, the players were simply not mentally equipped for the moment.

The players therefore, worked with charitable, social and community organisations each week alongside their rugby. The result was that each player was able to possess a stronger understanding of their responsibilities, privilege and how they could positively impact on others. This, in turn, showed a greater maturity in thought and calmness under pressure.

The result is there for all to see. World Cup wins in 2011 and 2015 and one of the greatest teams to ever grace the rugby field.

There was another piece though to the equation. As each player grew in themselves, so they found they could build greater trust in themselves from others. It is an oldage that those who are trusted, who are able to handle pressure the best as they know, whatever happens, there will be others there to be of support.

So much is written about leadership but a lot of it starts with behaviours, trust and understanding one’s role within a community, a company, a group or team. Much is invested in leadership development but maybe the place to start is growing a person’s understanding of how they can positively impact on another. As another old saying goes “it only takes a moment of genuine kindness to build a lifetime of care in return”
A lady called Sue Langley noted: “To crack the leadership code, you’ve got to care about people, you’ve got to be interested in people. I think once you can genuinely be interested in people then developing those skills… will follow. You need to care about people… And show up as the best version of yourself.”

This could not be more true for hospitality. The hospitality industry has shown, during the pandemic, the very best of itself and the role which it can play across society. It is an interesting discussion point as all can learn how to do the tasks better, all can learn the eight steps of the change model, or the four steps of a good decision-making model; but that is not what will make a difference. It’s the ability to care about and be interested in people. Leadership is first and foremost about people, about others. Respect does not come to anyone without an investment being made and that starts with how they behave.

It returns back to the piece about hospitality and its soft power. It has so much more influence than it often understands it has as it does show care, compassion and is the glue which binds many groups and communities together.

The industry has the power in its own hands. What is needed is a process which ensures that leaders do develop that constant focus on others and on their role in society. It is this last point that is so often overlooked or misunderstood.

We are therefore delighted to be working with a range of organisations who would enjoy input and support from those wanting to make a difference. If you would like to explore this or learn more, then please contact Lauran at