Leading Leaders Programme concludes and looks to the future

25 October 2019
Leading Leaders Programme Conclusion

The inaugural Leading Leaders Development Programme concluded on 17 September in a one-day session that focused on normalising conversations around leadership development and asked attendees to reflect not just on this programme, but on the Leadership Development System in the Wellington region.



Leadership development in the Aotearoa Sport and Recreation sector is underpinned by the understanding that leaders develop other leaders,” said Phil Gibbons, CEO of Sport Wellington who facilitated the programme in partnership with Winsborough Ltd. Because every member of our sector is a leader, it follows that leadership development is a shared responsibility throughout all our organisations, clubs, and teams. 

The 14 participants in the pilot programme were joined by their ‘sponsors’ for the final day – either their direct manager, CEO, or Board Chair. The sponsors spent a session learning about the content of the Leading Leaders Development Programme, the Leadership Framework for Sport and Recreation in Aotearoa New Zealand, and finally how these fit into the broader system in our region.  

Most leaders cite on-the-job experiences as the key events that shaped them as leaders and taught them important leadership skills, behaviours, and mind-sets. This group were no different,” Gibbons said. “Through the activities of the last day we wanted to ensure that the formalised learnings from the programme participants were shared in a way that both groups were as prepared as possible to take on this joint responsibility back in their organisations. 

The sponsors were introduced to the “Polishing Frogs” analogy for leadership development; a concept the participants have been exploring throughout the year;  

To be fully realised, any formal leadership development opportunities need to be extended back into the workplace. A workplace that enables a leadership development focus will allow the ‘newly polished frog’ to continue to develop and stay shiny,” Gibbons explained. If the pond is one that does not embrace this approach, then the ‘newly polished frog’ will soon revert back to the old behaviours.”  

Both the participants and the sponsors came together for a group-share session after lunch, where each participant reflected on their personal development journey over the past 9 months and briefly explained what’s next for them – both in their leadership development, but also how they are going to incorporate the Leadership Framework into their work places.  

“The Leading Leaders Programme has given me a deeper understanding of my leadership behaviours and how these impact on myself and others.  This strategic self-awareness has enabled me to grow my strengths and also deliberately change some habits to increase the impact and value of my leadership,”

- Lucinda Searchfield, People and Engagement Manager for the Halberg Foundation.  

My biggest learning is that difference is ok, diversity in style and behavior is essential to robust leadership team development. We all learn from each other and that never stops. This programme has grown my confidence and given me the resources to believe in my leadership capability and stand in my strength. 

Throughout the programme, participants worked in three syndicates to develop a proposal for how the programme could be repeated moving forward. They were asked to take into account the nature of the Sport and Recreation Workforce, the realities of timing and cost, and the relevance of the content.  

“A real benefit from the last day of the programme was the organisations involved have acknowledged the need to take the first steps to implement a component, no matter how small, of the leadership system. In most cases this will be led I suspect by the participant from our programme, Gibbons said.  

Participants were able to complete the Leading Leaders Development Programme at no cost to themselves or their organisations, thanks to the generous support of the New Zealand Community Trust and a grant specifically for leadership development in the Wellington region.  

“None of this formal leadership development through this leading leaders programme would have been possible without the support we have received from NZCT,” Gibbons said. NZCT have in partnership with Sport Wellington, created something here that will ultimately benefit a significant number of communities around the country. Through the support and leadership of NZCT, our sector is in the early throws of building a strong leadership culture based on developing others.   

The Leading Leaders Development Programme was led by Winsborough and supported by Sport Wellington. It was composed of three residentials and one final presentation/reflection day; and is designed off the Leadership Framework.  

The Leadership Framework for Sport and Recreation in Aotearoa New Zealand represents the weaving together of the critical leadership elements that members of the sport and recreation community have identified for the sport and recreation sector to be successful.  

The Leadership Framework is support by Puna, an online spring of resources that are free to download and cover the five key settings over the framework; Leading Self, Leading Teams, Leading Leaders, Leading Organisations, and Governing Organisations 

Go to Puna