We’re in the midst of the World Cup and following France’s exit yesterday under a cloud of recriminations, today is the day of reckoning for England in their last group game. It is an all or nothing game. They need to win or they will be coming home by the end of the week. At the same time, some of my old friends have been discovering old photos of my rugby playing days at University and sharing them on Facebook. I’m in the photo above….can you spot me?
This got me to thinking about teams, their performance and leadership and what is the relationship between these elements. For me, I think Jack Welch, the legendary ex-CEO of GE, got it spot on when he said:
Being a leader changes everything. Before you are a leader, success is all about you. It’s about your performance. Your contributions. It’s about raising your hand, getting called on, and delivering the right answer. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. It’s about making the people who work for you smarter, bigger, and bolder. Nothing you do anymore as an individual matters except how you nurture and support your team and help its members increase their self-confidence.
I know that whenever I have been a member of a successful team it has been the leader that has supported, motivated, nurtured, trained and coaxed us to do better. Leadership is one of the best examples of leverage when done well: helping a group of people achieve something that no one individual could accomplish on their own.
Whether England succeed today will largely, I believe, be a function of how Fabio Capello and Steven Gerrard (and some other unofficial and previous leaders) help the England team step up into the challenge that faces them. To date, I am not sure that Jack Welch would have approved of what seems to be going on amongst the team and management.
However, despite my Scottish roots, I wish them well. And, I do hope they succeed and their team and leadership prevails.
Watching from the sidelines, do you think Jack would have approved?