Former Australian cricket coach Justin Langer yesterday delivered his first public speech since his resignation at CCIWA’s inaugural Reset 2022 series of talks.
The 105-Test-playing, Ashes-winning coach enthralled a lunchtime crowd. From a concreter shedding tears on his driveway to wisdom from his grandmother, and his memories of (the late) Rod Marsh, Shane Warne and Andrew Symonds, Langer discussed what he’d learned about leadership and how incredibly important truth and integrity are to success.
The self-described “luckiest man on Earth” started by reading his note of resignation as Australian coach from earlier this year, then discussed the various setbacks and successes he’d experienced across his 30-year professional sport career — and, poignantly, what he’d learned from being a father, and from being a mate.
He shared four principles, the first being the importance of mutual respect and support.
“What I’ve learned is the most important thing: if you know people have got your back, you can achieve miracles. If they haven’t, it’s a very lonely place,” Langer said.
“And leadership — as everyone in this room would understand — leadership can be very, very lonely; but it’s not lonely when you know people have got your back.
“That’s the most important principle of my past six months: work with people and know if you’re a leader, have your people’s backs. As a leader, you want people who have got your back. If you do that, miracles can be achieved.”
The second principle Langer shared was drawn from a story of a mate’s buck’s night and a chance meeting with an acquaintance from his school days who’d been amused by Langer’s dreams to play 100 Tests for Australia. A sceptic had been turned into a believer.
“It doesn’t matter how old we are: keep dreaming big,” Langer said. “Encourage your kids to keep dreaming big.”
Clear your desk
Thirdly, as Langer reflected on his departure as Test coach, he exhorted attendees to “clear your desk”.
“This is the advice — if I can leave nothing else with everyone here — for the first time in four years I cleared my desk.
“For three or four years I was concentrating on the politics, the media, the sponsorship; I was trying to do everything — I was trying to be everything to everyone.
“It’s no wonder you get tired. It’s no wonder your health suffers; your mental, your physical health. You’re trying to please everybody.
“The great lesson I learned was … I cleared my desk, and all of a sudden instead of having everything on my table, I had two things on my desk: one was ‘winning’ and the second thing was my people.
“I encourage everyone in this room, when you reset — through stormy waters, tough times — clear your desk. Concentrate, focus on what is important in your business and your family and your life, and you’ll get amazing energy.”
“There are critics everywhere,” Langer said.
“It’s easy to be a critic, it’s easy to be a doubter, it’s easy to listen to gossip, it’s easy to listen to innuendo – but man, if you’re open to having a crack, massive respect.
“Don’t get distracted by the critics; as long as you’re doing the right things and you’re focused on what’s important, success is inevitable.”
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