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The art of leadership

While most of the office is naturally getting very excited about our great friends at Huddersfield Town making the play offs and Sheffield United winning League 1, the really good news from the sporting world is that the cricket summer is underway.

Aside from the drama that only a 5-day test can produce, one of the most interesting aspects of cricket that intrigues me is the art of leadership and captaincy in the sport and how this translates to the business world and agencies in particular.

The captain’s role in the game is multifaceted.   They must be a good player – in a team sport you can’t have the luxury of carrying a player – but not necessarily the most skilled at batting, bowling or fielding.   Translate this to figure heads in an agency who very often can design, code, write to a very good standard, but may not perhaps be the best.

Being able to judge short term and long term situations is critical.  Some captains will change field settings throughout an over, try and get something to happen, while at the same time they need to be aware of how the run rate is ticking along or how a pitch might change in a day.

At Fantastic Media our days are very similar.  We need to juggle workload for the team and manage resources to hit deadlines, while at the same time taking a longer-term view about what might be coming down the line in a month or so.

Always lead by example.   As mentioned the captain may not be the best player in the team, but they will set an example of the way to play the game, inspire their teammates to strive for excellence and back them 100%.   Likewise our leaders need to manage, coach, mentor and inspire our teams of marketers.

Finally, they have to get results.  Mike Brearley, perhaps the epitome of cricket captains in the context of this piece, wouldn’t have the reputation for leadership if England didn’t recover to win the Ashes in ’81.   Likewise Andrew Gale’s status as one of Yorkshire’s best ever captains is cemented by the fact he lead the team to back to back County Championships.

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Ops director at Fantastic Media, varied background in physics, sports publishing, agency life and software.

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