Capgeminis Mandine Pasquier says rugby can forge leadership

Capgemini's Mandine Pasquier says rugby can forge leadership

 October 19, 2023

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Rugby, representing values ​​that are also relevant in the business world, can help individuals develop not just athletically but also as leaders in the workplace. In this capacity, it can break down some of the barriers that women traditionally face.

So what do the captain of a rugby team and a business manager have in common?  They share the same value system at the core. Both motivate, evaluate, train, and – of course – communicate with a group of people. In both cases, a leader must thoughtfully assign the available roles, foster a group spirit, and instill collective momentum by encouraging everyone to work together.

"There are, of course, notable differences between the world of the oval ball and that of business. The profiles are more homogeneous (in terms of age, gender, etc.) in a rugby team than in the office. The pace is also different: a few hours in the field versus five days of work per week. And, above all, if one is allowed to take the time to find their bearings at the start of the sports season, the business world may be less patient. The manager is expected to mobilize their team to bring about results as quickly as possible.

Meet Capgemini Engagement Manager, Mandine Pasquier. Here, Manfine shares how rugby can empower leaders and promotes diversity and inclusion within the corporate world, especially for women.

The art of being a good leader

Mandine highlights how business has always shared many values with the sport: "Whether you are a rugby captain or a manager, the most important quality can be summed up in one word: trust. The trust you inspire and the trust you give. You must be able to make decisions that set the collective in motion while giving everyone the space needed to take the personal initiatives that will in turn fuel the group’s dynamic. Another essential quality is passion, which a leader must be able to transmit to and nurture within their team."

Taking leadership skills from the pitch to the office

From stadium turf to the office carpet, the lessons learned from sports are as relevant as ever.

"Managers need to be able to adapt and question their habits to succeed in defusing conflicts and easing tensions, and they must be flexible in order to navigate a fluid environment. It’s a question of both mindset and organization. And it requires a certain intellectual agility – the ability to question the way one works and change direction when necessary," explains Mandine.

The values ​​of rugby and sport can aid and inspire decision-makers in their daily lives and careers. "Solidarity, cooperation, collective intelligence, team spirit, respect, and courage – these values, which are fundamental to achieving success in sport, are just as relevant to leaders in other environments," she says. 

"Sport is a particularly good avenue for developing soft skills, which are in turn highly prized in the professional world. They can complement an individual’s professional skills by enabling them to effectively accomplish tasks within a larger group that requires one to navigate various relationships. Sport also fosters personal development, improving individual well-being, which subsequently helps workers develop better within their companies."

Sport as a vehicle of inclusion

Mandine says that another advantage of sport, and rugby in particular, is that it contributes to the inclusion of women in the workplace, and especially to their promotion to leadership positions

"Although it took a long time to emerge – the French women’s team was born at the very end of the 1980s – women’s rugby is developing more and more. Illustrating the progress, France had more than 26,000 registered female rugby players in 2022," says Mandine. 

"And the sport is starting to occupy television screens with, for example, the broadcast of the 2023 Women’s Six Nations Championship. This growth in coverage is just the beginning. Media coverage contributes to developing the sport, which is proving to be an important source of empowerment through which women can acquire leadership abilities that are valued in management positions. Rugby enables women to affirm their personalities, express themselves, and develop a fighting spirit. Importantly, it gives them the confidence to strive for positions traditionally dominated by men. Rugby and business thus work side by side to facilitate women’s access to leadership – and that’s great news!"

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