“Right now some of you already see yourselves as leaders, and some don’t. By the end of today most of you will know yourself to be leaders, and love it.”

We say this to the business volunteers in the morning briefing of the SportInspired Games multi-sport festival, where it is up to the 100 or so volunteers and secondary school Young Leaders they work with to help inspire local kids to try new sports. However, some volunteers really do arrive not liking sport, some not even liking kids. Many are clear that in the workplace their role is to carry out the instructions of others.

Are leaders born or man-made? We passionately believe leadership potential is innate in everyone. For some it is obvious or ‘natural’, for others it takes a little nurturing to tease it out. They spend many years following, and it requires the intervention of something to unmask them as the leader they really are.

Leadership potential can be effectively unlocked (‘unmasked’) through a creative environment we refer to as ‘calculated chaos’. This is where energy is high, fun is everywhere, and so many people are operating out of their comfort zones that it feels normal. In this environment we can help them see the impacts of their actions, opening their eyes to how they can inspire people when just a few short hours earlier they never believed it possible. It is here we witness one of the fundamental measures of leadership: the impact and influence on those who follow, in changing their thinking, actions and perspective for the future.

Imagine the experience…
Volunteers arrive at the Games festivals with an array of different emotions: tired, excited, nervous, confident… By the time they leave, they will be happy, more confident, better leaders, better connected with each other, and inspired by what your company has helped to achieve for the local community. In between, your people will have helped deliver many minor and some major life transformations for the young people and staff involved….

Phil, 14, used to struggle with personal relationships, he was encouraged to believe in himself by Hasim, 42, a volunteer, and now he believes he can be a leader. Hasim now knows he has the ability to build self-belief in others and himself. Sarah (33) and Hamish (27) knew each other from the office, but assumed they have nothing in common, now share an interest in helping to inspire others.

At 8:30am the volunteers, complete with masks arrive. A few short hours of fun (and quite a few inspired kids) later the mask is gone, and many leaders are here to stay.

Richard Raynes
MD, SportInspired

Visit the SportInspired website for more information and how your organisation can get involved here.