© Neil Spark

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Real leadership

October 29, 2017

In the world in which we live there is a lack of true leaders in the positions that require real leadership. Though many may call themselves leaders in all walks of life, most are far from it. Those in charge of countries and the destinies of millions of people appear to be almost clueless, or oblivious to the needs of others. I believe that the words on your business card or next to your name are only words. The same goes with many major corporations where their vision statements are nothing more than words on the wall. Quite often it is who you are – and not what you offer – that matters, which is a fallacy.


Recently I went back to New Zealand for a holiday and to catch up with family. There are always many people to catch up with though we never get to see them all. However, I always make time to have a meal or a coffee with my soccer coach, Kevin, from my time playing in New Zealand. This is really important to me and a testament to my respect for what he did for us as a club, and a group of young men.


Every time we meet I say the same thing and though 30 years has gone by I still have emotion in my voice when I tell him: “You weren’t the best coach that I ever had but I never wanted to play for anybody more than I did for you”. I am pretty confident that every player in that era thinks the same. Kevin never had all of the coaching certificates or any special gimmicks that supposedly you need nowadays to be a great coach. He didn’t need them because he was a leader worthy of following.


Kevin would train us for three hours (yes that long) twice a week and spend the same time with our second team on two other nights. At every home game the whole team would meet at his house and his wife would feed the team, all 15 of us. He also paid for someone to video our games, a rarity in that time, and again would have the team around to his house each week to watch it, again providing food and drink. All he asked in return was for us to do our best and be committed to the team cause.


Though I doubt many of us realised at the time his leadership was both inspirational and selfless. It wasn’t about Kevin, it was about the team and the community that surrounded it. It is no coincidence that era was, and still is, the most successful in the club’s long history. Only in reflection do you realise how fortunate you were to be part of that community and how the friendships you forge bond you forever. When I caught up with many of the guys whilst in New Zealand the conversations just continued from where they left off a few years ago.


As you look around, there are so many areas of the planet crying out for a Kevin to change their direction and guide people through the quagmire of arrogance and self-interest that abounds. True leaders don’t need to beat their chests and tell others how wonderful they are because real people understand that a leader will care about you first and their needs second.


Kevin Moss was just that and we followed. Isn’t that what true leaders should do? Should you have someone like Kevin in your life, appreciate the opportunity that comes from being part of something bigger than yourself and thrive in the community.


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