Accumulating knowledge without taking action is merely a method of passing the time. In this new year I have made a commitment to continue to learn and grow, in an even more narrow field. One of the ways I will do this is by deconstructing all that I am reading, watching and hearing so that I can be of greater service to those around me. In this short article, you will find the 5 most powerful leadership lessons that I learned from an interview with the England Rugby Coach, Eddie Jones.
“To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.”
Stephen R Covey.
#1 Focus on the Main Effort
Leaders must focus relentlessly on their job as a leader and that which is in their control. When asked if there was a problem with “grass-roots” rugby in England, leading to a shortage of “home-grown talent”, this was Eddie Jones’ response.
“It is not my problem. My job is to coach the national team. If the national team wins then we receive more positive media coverage, we generate more money and more interest in rugby.”
#2 Never stop learning
As a leader, the danger comes when we think we have nothing left to learn. Twenty years of personal leadership experience has taught me that the greatest leaders are without doubt the greatest learners.
Eddie Jones is a great example of this. In coaching the national side he has studied football managers, women’s hockey, football and the Tour de France in order to better serve the England team.
#3 Face into conflict
Eddie Jones believes that the best outcomes are achieved by engaging in healthy challenge, as opposed to avoiding it. When teams trust each other unreservedly they have the confidence to say what needs to be said without fear of ridicule or reprisals.
“Conflict is not personal and it is not about the other person’s feelings. It is simply about getting the job done.”
#4 Be yourself
Eddie Jones is a man and a leader who is clearly comfortable in his own skin. Whilst I do not know his full back-story, I very much doubt if this has happened by accident. I suspect that he is the person and leader he is today as a result of doing the inner-work to really understand who he is, what he believes in and the values that drive his actions.
“If you want to be successful, you’ve got to be yourself. You must have certain values that lead you to behave in a certain way.”
#5 Grow more leaders
The true goal of a leader is to ensure the on-going success of the team or organisation once they have left. In this respect, a leaders job is to grow more leaders, develop the leadership capability of the entire organisation and create an enduring, positive culture. This requires us to fully serve those that we lead and put our ego firmly to one side.
“My job as the coach is to make myself redundant…the England team is no longer dependant upon me. A leaders job is to build a self-reliant team.”
Be average or be exceptional…
Becoming an outstanding leader and building a brilliant leadership team isn’t complicated. It doesn’t require phd levels of leadership insight.
What is does require is commitment, focus and consistency.
If you want to become a truly exceptional leader, leading a world-class team then you must become incessant about improving every aspect of what you do.
If you want to be just a little better, in one or two areas, then my articles and services probably aren’t for you.
But if you want to take every aspect of how you operate as a leader and as a leadership team to a whole new level, then let’s have a no-strings attached conversation and see where it takes us.
Watch the full interview here.