Home Mental Health & Well-Being 3 Secrets to Unleash the National Team’s Potential

3 Secrets to Unleash the National Team’s Potential

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New Zealand, South Africa, England, and all past rugby world champions have one common factor – effective leadership. With the 2023 Rugby World Cup starting imminently in France, team performance will once again be scrutinised by fans and broadcast professionals.

Experts at Hogan Assessments – the global leader in workplace personality assessment and leadership development – have identified three tips for ensuring a strong team performance that will take the national team to eternal glory.

Tip #1: Stay humble to keep winning

While we currently consider the All Blacks to be the world’s best team when it comes to rugby, the team had to endure a 24-year wait between winning the first World Cup competition back in 1987 before claiming their second trophy in 2015.

How did the team overcome this struggle and claim its spot as one of the most respected sporting institutions in the world? The squad has a unique culture that has led to their dominance, built on dedication to character and humility.

All Blacks players continuously show humility by asking themselves, “How can we do this better?”. The team recognises that it must steadily evolve to continue succeeding at the highest levels, a trait necessary to combat opponents’ improvements.

“Coaches, leaders, and players must facilitate a positive learning environment in which they acknowledge that not knowing all the answers is a strength that can help the team to adapt and grow.

“This constant search for self-improvement is vital towards success in any scenario,” said Dr Ryne Sherman, chief science officer at Hogan Assessments and co-host of “The Science of Personality podcast.”

Tip #2: Together, you can go further – Balance personalities and align egos

A team’s drive, passion, self-imposed obstacles, and blind spots are the sum of the personalities involved. To maximise the advantages of teamwork and avoid common pitfalls, the training environment must encourage individual members to set aside self-driven interests while pursuing a collective goal. The secret to high-performing teams is that they try smarter and look to balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Rugby is no exception.

“Building the perfect team isn’t about assembling an all-star squad; it’s about finding generous and respectful contributors, but confident in their strengths too. It is also essential to pick the right leader to pull them all together to lead them all to victory,” noted Dr Sherman.

For the best results to be achieved by any team, leaders must ensure that each member is aware of potential challenges and that coaches maintain all players’ confidence in their contribution toward goal achievement. This will help the squad continuously question engagement rules when approaching unforeseen challenges throughout a match. 

Tip #3: Focus on the team’s values – The forgotten rugby player

When most players share the same values, the team bonds more easily. Because values guide behavioural choices, group members who share similar values are more likely to agree about group actions and vice-versa. In this way, values determine the group’s culture and offer insight into the weight the team will place on decisions.

A historical example of this in action came in 1995 when the South African side beat the strong favourites of the tournament, New Zealand, to not only claim victory but also unite its post-apartheid country in the process.

Former South African Springbok, Chester Williams, said of their win: “It showed what we can achieve – if we stand together, we are a powerful nation. Sport is powerful, so the World Cups in various sports are so important. That brings memories, brings people together, helps them communicate and build newfound respect.”

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