Lawrence Dallaglio is a former England rugby captain
Lawrence Dallaglio is a former England rugby captain
A view from Lawrence Dallaglio

Lawrence Dallaglio on leadership: 'Succeed with dignity and lose with grace'

Former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio, now founding partner of BBH Sport, talks to Marketing about balancing his personal life with work, collective responsiblity and how to "lose with grace".

The best teams are made up of top individuals. Leadership is about knowing your role and carrying out that role to the very best standard you can, understanding both your strengths and your weaknesses, and working together as a group.

Collective responsibility is a big thing for me. Success usually comes from a number of people being able to execute a plan under pressure. Teams should be able to share that success, but also failure, if there is any. They should learn how to accept and allocate responsibility for that failure. You will often need to make huge sacrifices to get the results you want, but these results are much better when you've had those sacrifices to make.

It is great to be successful by yourself; it's even better to do it as a team. As a leader, you should strive to create something that people want to be a part of and are prepared to work hard for. There's no better feeling than that of shared triumph from doing things together.

We all get excited about testing ourselves. Leading is about creating an environment where people can challenge, but also be challenged, and where they feel empowered to take on responsibility, innovate and move things forward. We are all constantly looking for self-improvement and personal development - that counts for the development of the team as well.

Leading is about creating an environment where people can challenge, but also be challenged

I know it sounds a bit cliched, but there's no substitute for rolling up your sleeves. Over a number of years in and around top sport, you get good at understanding individuals, their skills and how they fit into a team - as well as how they respond to pressure. Talent is a part of it, of course, but the application of that talent, and the ability to continue to learn and grow is just as important.

Succeed with dignity and lose with grace. I can only speak from my own experience, but humility plays a big part. There's no doubt we all have setbacks in our lives. We all experience bumps in the road, hopefully fairly minor ones, whether professionally or personally, but occasionally they can be pretty major. It's how you react and respond, individually and as a group, that often defines you.

Most of us exist in the triangle of professional, personal and family lives. All of us are constantly trying to create the ideal harmony between the three. That is worth bearing in mind. You might get infatuated with one element, which causes an imbalance with the other two. To become infatuated with yourself is never a good thing, but, equally, if you don't spend enough time on yourself that can have a negative impact as well.