Leadership lessons from a World-class Captain

If you are looking for a good read during this lock-down, look no further than Sam Warburton’s autobiography Open Side’. It is a fabulous book that is much more to do with leadership, self-awareness and the importance of personal values than it is about rugby. We found it hard to put down. His thoughts on leadership are insightful and inspiring and confirmed my belief that he is an exceptional young man in many more ways than his athletic ability.

He shares a list of leadership criteria that came from the pen of Sam Walker, former Global Sports Editor at the Wall Street Journal in his own book ‘The Captain Class’. He cites 7 traits that elite captains demonstrate, and it struck us that we have witnessed many of the same in the best business leaders that we have come across. Warburton believed they describe the leader he always aspired to be.

They are:

  1. Motivates others with passionate non-verbal displays
  2. Extreme doggedness and focus in competition
  3. Aggressive play that tests the limits to the rules
  4. A willingness to do thankless jobs in the shadows
  5. A low key, practical and democratic communication style
  6. Strong convictions and courage to stand apart
  7. Iron clad emotional control

Not a bad set of guiding principles for anyone in a leadership role!