How The All Blacks Management Aced Collaborative Leadership

Today’s post was written by my Comms manager and the other half of The Leader’s Digest, Amy Cunningham. Amy is a blogging and social media pro – if you need help establishing a personal or business blog, or want to build your social media presence, she’s your girl! 

It’s been an exciting week for executive coaches and leadership development specialists in New Zealand.

As the nation welcomes our Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks squad back onto home soil, leadership experts and writers around the country have been excavating, polishing and sharing the leadership jewels behind this extraordinary sports team.

When it comes to the All Blacks, the leadership mine is literally overflowing with sparkling gems. As the story behind this epic team continues to unravel, we have become like miners who have ‘hit the jackpot’, discovering piece upon piece of rare leadership goodness.

Earlier this week, prominent psychologist and executive coach, Jasbinder Singh, shared a veritable feast for managers, in her blog entitled “12 leadership lessons from the world-class All Blacks.”

Martin Fenwick from Auckland-based Leadership Development and Executive Coaching firm, Altris, also referred to the All Blacks’ epic win in his blog exploring the truth about winning. 

I have been working with the brains behind the The Leader’s Digest blog, Suzi McAlpine, for over three years now. Earlier this year, we made the decision to join forces, collaborate (excuse the pun) and deliver collaborative leadership workshops to organisations in New Zealand.

By utilising our unique areas of expertise (myself as a PR/comms professional and Suzi as an executive coach & leadership development specialist) we have been helping managers learn practical tools to become more collaborative in their leadership roles.

Which brings me to my point.

There has been no better example of collaborative leadership in action than the All Blacks of 2015.

Coach Steve Hansen ditched the traditional command and control approach – the method preferred by previous ABs coaches – and instead embraced a more synergistic model, which was not only reflected by the management structure but the coach-player relationships as well.

Players were expected to be responsible for every aspect of their own careers – self-reliant and driven to achieve their full potential as both team members and individuals.

Management decisions were made equally by Hansen, Ian Foster, manager Darren Shand and mental skills specialist Gilbert Enoka.

In a recent article Hansen said – “We have a sweet spot that runs the team…between those four people – myself, Shandy, Gilbert and Fozzy – we make all the decisions. Fozzy heads up the coaching. Shandy looks after the logistics and Gilbert the wellbeing. I sit as a helicopter over the top. It’s a model that’s worked well for us.”


To the All Blacks, thank you. Thanks for achieving this remarkable feat. Thanks for role modelling the traits of real leadership. Thanks for reminding us of what collaborative leadership looks like. And thanks for showing us what can be achieved with an ego-free, collaborative mindset.

Want to increase collaborative leadership in your organisation? Click here to find out more about our Collaborative Leadership in Action Workshops.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts from The Leader's Digest

Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

Welcome to

The Leader's Digest

Subscribe to The Leader’s Digest

Receive trending leadership topics and tips, straight to your inbox.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Internationally Recognised


The Leader's Digest App