“The only time you’re on top, is when you’re digging a hole.”
He has never seen himself as a Leader but has had roles that have required leadership qualities and wakes up each morning thinking he doesn’t have to do this today to lead this team but wake up each morning thinking that this has to be done because it is my role and my responsibility. With a speech filled with memorable quotes who better to speak on leadership as part of our International Leadership Series for iLead than Wayne Bennett.
With an extensive history as a former Australian Kangaroos Player, Queensland Police Officer and Super Coach (over 700 1st grade games with 7 winning premierships), Wayne spoke of his belief in Commitment, Selflessness, Ability to live with oneself and more can allow someone to obtain and possess the qualities that can allow one to lead, coach and inspire others.
“ Commitment sorts out the dreamers from the doers.”
With the understanding that promises or simply lies to yourself, Wayne, explained how crucial “commitments” were for himself personally and for others. At the age of 14 he made three commitments to himself; that he would become a police officer; that he would play for his country; and the one he sees most impactful on his success, to never drink alcohol. He understood to fulfil those dreams he had to make a commitment, not a promise.
“Talent alone is not going to get you anywhere, everybody has the ability to be talented.”
It is those who are willing to go above and beyond and pay the price that is required to be the person you want to be. Teach yourself the traits and qualities you want, and focus on what you have, not on what you don’t. He states that he would not be where he would be today if he focused on what he didn’t have. In the locker room and with his teams he always asked - why don’t you focus on what you do have?
In his time he has taught many people with great physical courage, similarly one quality he states for leadership is moral courage. The ability to stand for something. What do you stand for? He would be able to answer that for many of the members of his team. Belief in your own opinion, is better than falling for everyone else’s point of view and allowing them to manipulate you. Be proud of who you are and don’t be scared to express yourself. This is something he sees as one of his own weaknesses, a trigger that upsets him when he is unable was unable to say what he believe he needed to say at the time.
“One of your greatest learning tools is the observations of others.”
Another trait he continues to expand on was the ability to observation of people. How they react around you and with you. He says he has learnt more about leadership by simply observing people within the workplace and the people that he wants to be. His biggest challenge as a coach was to create an environment in which people can do their best and his biggest motivation to push further is within his failures, and his understanding of what he believes can and is possible.
“Isn’t it amazing how many things can be accomplished when nobody cares who did it.”
Leadership is about people, simple as that. He has seen many situations in which an individual overacts, as they believe it is about them. He continues by expressing that a leader is someone who is willing to stay at the end of the queue all day, every day. They put you (others) first, caring about your wellbeing so don’t be selfish. Leadership is about the team.
“Before you lead anybody, you have to lead you. You can’t lead other people if you can’t lead yourself. ”
On the other hand, the one person he wants to make happy, is himself. He points out that (and say this out loud to yourself) is that the only person you got to live with twenty four seven is me, you can’t get away from you. No matter what you do, whether you laugh, cry, go out, you’re with you. So why don’t you make yourself happy. With the example of a particular current Novocastrian, though he may have been able to play for Australia, payed quite fairly and everything else professional in his career, he still suffers from depression. Due to the fact that he doesn’t like who he is personally.
“you got 40 odd years in front of you all, so why wouldn’t you start to invest in you. So you can be that person in the workplace that does make a different. ”
He also left us with a few other parting qualities that he believes that can help us to be leaders and the people we want to be.
“Sometimes we get lost with the stars.”
- Communication → with your team
- Trust → for yourself and those around you
- Vision → for want you want
- Focus → on achieving your goal
- Responsibility → for your action and for your team
- Respect → earned every day
- And finally Honesty, Truth and Compassion
Finally I was able to start the question portion of the seminar and asked what he feels was the biggest lesson he had learnt in his career. Simply put, it was to treat everyone fairly. Team requires not only the stars but the people who put in the hard work. Though an individual may never be a star, his work should not go unnoticed.