I was born with big ears, so I figured I might as well use them.

by | Jul 9, 2019

In elite sport, and in my experience, it is the curious and courageous learner-teacher that separates the great coaches/teachers.

Hall of Fame coach Allan Jeans is my favourite example, and his influence on generations of football people is evidence of his remarkable leadership legacy.

The reason for this is simple. For Allan Jeans, identity was fundamental, and he educated and coached based on ensuring you had an understanding of where you have come from, where your place is now, and providing a clear understanding of where you were heading.

The basis from which he built this was trust, and Allan was the type of person who trusted easily, and trusted freely.

Whilst he had a somewhat intimidating veneer, his warmth and wisdom quickly become apparent, as he did what he could to help you find who you are, what you want to be, and what you want to stand for.

And for many young people finding their way in this most distracted of environments, identity can be elusive.

It needs to be taught.

You quickly learn however, to benefit from the Allan’s wisened methodology meant leaving your ego at the door, opening yourself up knowing that your confidences were safe, and you would be emboldened by his preparedness to reciprocate your openness.

While Allan’s booming coach’s voice was legendary, his silences were even more profound.

“I was born with big ears, so I figured I might as well use them”, he would say, and listen he would. He also had a unique way of creating the space required for you to work it out for yourself – surely the best form of teaching.

“Success needs no explanation, failure accepts no alibis”, he would say, knowing fully that building resilience means you have to learn from your disappointments. That’s how you find out who you are.

As a personal reflection, my greatest regret as a leader was not spending more time teaching. There were too many times I allowed myself to get lost in far less meaningful aspects of the role, the busyness, the stuff that really doesn’t matter.

With leadership, if you understand what really matters, you get to appreciate what seems to matter.

Teaching really matters.

I always enjoy the opportunity to talk all things culture and high-performance, and the development of leaders to achieve it.

Here are three ways to start the ball rolling:

  • I teach and coach an integrated leadership performance system utilising sophisticated learning models and systems garnered from elite team sport, ideal for leaders who are committed learners, who understand the responsibility of leadership. To learn more, please arrange your FOC 30-minute leadership telephone consult to discuss your personal, team or organisational challenges or aspirations, please use this link.
  • Participate in our next one-day Leadership Masterclass which I personally facilitate. It is a sophisticated, intimate and practical leadership intensive for aspirational leaders, both current and emerging. To learn more, and to register, please use this link.
  • Sign up for the “More to the Game” weekly email, and receive a copy of my “What business can learn from football” White Paper. The emails are short leadership reflections, no more than a couple of minutes to read and we will always treat our communication with respect. Please use this link.

You can also contact me at cameron@designCEO.com.au and let me know how you think we can work together.

Cameron Schwab
CEO & Founder


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