The very notion of a leader often suggests that there is only one person in an organisation or a team who can have that role. After all, if you have more than one leader, and they are looking to take their team in different directions, things can be confusing, and this is where problems arise.
There is a need to be pulling in the same direction, which means ultimately one person must have responsibility for the overall direction a group travels in, but this doesn’t mean to say that there can’t be more than one leader.
This viewpoint is extremely true for businesses but on the weekend of the Rugby World Cup Final, it is probably easier to examine this situation from a sporting perspective. It is possible to draw parallels between sport and business, and even if you have no interest in sport or fitness, you should be able to take something from the way that a team pulls together and fights for a common goal.
Australia are one of the teams competing for the World Cup, and when you think that they have a manager who hasn’t been in the position for too long, they have achieved quite a feat by getting to this stage. Michael Cheika has made some big decisions in his time as coach of the Australian rugby team, but one of the biggest decisions Cheika made was in appointing a captain.
The coach is the ultimate leader of a sports team, but the captain is their second in command. They should represent the coach on the pitch, but they should also be the eyes and ears of the coach when it comes to the playing squad. It is often useful for there to be a distance between the coach and their team with the captain being the conduit. Having a buffer in place prevents the coach being overrun by complaints and concerns from every team member while it also helps them to create a sense of authority.
As you would expect from a strong team with a huge sporting tradition, there were plenty of choices available but in appointing Stephen Moore, Cheika made a big call that has appeared to have been a success. Moore was initially appointed captain in 2014 by the former Australian coach Ewen McKenzie but just three minutes in his first game as captain; he suffered a knee injury that ruled him out on a long-term basis.
It took over a year for Moore to return, by which time the new coach, Chieka, was in place, and he had his own ideas about who should lead the team.
Fighting back takes strength and courage
However, the strength and determination that Moore showed in fighting back, in addition to the admirable qualities that saw him named Australian captain in the first place, convinced Cheika that Moore was the player he needed to lead his team. When you battle back from adversity with the same strength and hunger that you had before, you earn the respect of your peers, which is vital for a leader.
In the business world, you may not suffer too many serious injuries, but you can suffer many losses and difficult days. It is how you bounce back and how you conduct yourself around others when you are coming back from setbacks that mark you out as being a leader.
At the time of his injury, very few people would have expected Moore to be in a position to become the third Australian to lift the Rugby World Cup but this determination to fight back is exactly the sort of character that marks him out as being a true leader for the team.