To me, leadership is the art of motivating and empowering others, uniting and maximizing a teams’ efforts in setting and achieving the highest possible goal.
I’ve been fortunate to lead as a centre-back on the pitch, and today as a TV analyst and business entrepreneur. I believe that’d say one of my greatest transferable skills or strengths has been my ability to envision and imagine future outcomes, to see the bigger picture. Trust is key to any leader’s’ success. The bond gained through communicating with my teammates is essential to any leadership role in business or sport. It’s that emotional connection that is the basis for honest accountability needed to gain exceptional results in any walk of life. In my experience, it cannot be manufactured and will never work if it’s contrived. It quite simply must be real and comes from many hours of getting to know a person professionally and personally.
I’ve been lucky to have traveled down a post-game path that I’m passionate about, that hits all my sweet spots: sport, business and leadership development.
If I can humbly share any advice, having a business mentor (CEO Tim Leiweke) while I was in an executive role at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, was a huge step in my professional development. I’d highly recommend that all athletes and executives, find and leverage the knowledge and network that an influential mentor offers.
As I look back on my playing career – and at the evolution of today’s’ business savvy athlete and our digital world – investing time in understanding your authentic personal brand, your values, passions, and causes closes to your heart, is essential. By strategically developing and managing your reputation beyond the game, you will extend and monetize your brand, and win new opportunities. (This applies to C-suite executives too, as there are few seats at the top in both worlds.) A proactive game plan also sets you up for life after sports (or the boardroom), so you can enjoy sustainable success and find another fulfilling gig or career – which eludes far too many athletes, too often.
I hope you enjoyed my blog story and it helps inspires your personal and professional growth in some small way. I’m happy to connect and discuss your leadership journey too.