Young, Talented Leaders! Big Business! But At What Personal Cost?

May 10, 2016 Caryn Walsh

Young, Talented Leaders! Big Business! But At What Personal Cost?

Most successful businesses world-wide focus on filling their ‘leadership pipeline’ as part of their business succession planning, ensuring that they have potential young talented leaders trained and ready for senior roles. This good business succession planning strategy makes good business sense, but at what cost?

The recent events in the life of young Parramatta Eels leader, Kieran Foran, highlights the reality that stress and pressure can place enormous strain on the personal lives of young leaders – often at a high price.  Born in New Zealand and NRL All Stars representative five-eighth, Foran previously played for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, with whom he won the 2011 NRL Premiership. Reportedly Foran has personal issues, the result being he will miss three important up-coming matches to deal with his challenges.

At 25, this young leader has done remarkably well.  I knew him as a child and have watched him grow from strength to strength in his career. He has done remarkably well and was thrust into a prime leader role at a young age. And he is a draw card to any match in which he plays.

Troubled NRL star Mitchell Pearce is another example. A national footy icon and much-loved leader, Pearce is considering pulling out of the State of Origin to focus on recovering from his addiction to booze.

Both young leaders are exceptionally talented, well paid, high profile and national role models. They are big business and the clubs they belong to know it!

But at what personal cost?

The question is this and it involves duty of care from the Organisations employing young leaders of this ilk:  What strategies and approaches can Clubs introduce to groom young leaders in a timely and effective manner so that instant stardom and the incredible pressure they are placed under is more effectively managed?

Some may argue that at 25 (Foran) and 27 (Pearce) they should ‘have their acts together.’ Undoubtedly.  But they are still young. Their load is heavy. So for both, it may be the personal price they are paying is too high for the outcome.

The outcome remains to be seen.


Photo courtesy of abc.net.au

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