There has been great anticipation surrounding the Lions squad selection which was announced today, many opinions have been exchanged and will continue to be. Sections of the British and Irish rugby public have been concerned that Warren Gatland was going to show too much bias towards the players he used to manage, Wales. However as a proud professional, I’m sure he will have all his focus on winning the test series, hence I believe he has picked what he regards and the best selection of players available to enable the Lions to win. One has to remember sport is hard on people sometimes, Joe Launchbury will feel this more than most right now.
There has also been many an article written about who will get the captaincy, understandably so, it’s one of the highest privileges a British sportsman can receive. In the end, he chose Sam Warburton. However, I feel too much emphasis has been placed on this topic. If you look at any great sports side, they all have quality players but all also have a number of strong leaders in the side, no one man can lead a side effectively. It’s too much of an ask and effects the balance of the side. Look at the All Blacks under Richie McCaw and the great leaders he had in his side, Martin Johnson’s 2003 side had many leaders, you need this balance especially when the going gets tough. A company also needs this balance, there are no great companies with a strong CEO and a weak board, if there is the CEO is more than likely looking to ‘upgrade’!
Leadership needs to transfer to every player on the pitch, not be held by one person. When they’re on the field, they are making the decisions in the moment, adapting to play, tactics etc the captain & coach needs a side who is willing and able to do that.
There are many facets to enabling great teams but two that stand out for me in this situation, they are humility and trust. Humility to know when someone else may be better suited to delivering a task and the trust to let them get on with it, I’m confident Sam Warburton understand's this, hence I like the decision. Let's just hope he is match fit.
The core of integrity is truthfulness. Integrity requires that you always tell the truth, to all people, in every situation. A fish rots from the head, so does an organisation. A true leader becomes a leader by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.