What Makes a Good Leader - Greenfield IT Recruitment


On the 24th of August the famous annual cycling rate Vuelta a España will be commencing with the sports leading names. They will be taking to the streets of Spain competing for one of the most prestigious titles in the world of cycling. Team Ineos will certainly be one of the team names that will be in with a chance for securing victory. This is down to their superhuman general manager Sir David John Brailsford.


It’s often easy to look at the people on the ground, the ones at the cold face of the organisation. Those at ground level implementing the strategy similarly to Team Ineos. It’s often the names such as Chris Froome or Geraint Thomas. And more recently Tour De France winner, the talented Colombian Egan Bernal. Although it’s actually it’s the man behind the scenes that is driving this dominance in cycling.


Becoming a leader and a successful one.

David Brailsford was recently celebrating a 7th Tour De France victory. But like all strong leaders and characters, didn’t for too long as there are more events coming up. Becoming a leader and a successful one, requires you to build your own dynasty but with the help of others. To consistently strive to better yourself and be better than your last race and that’s the mentality that Brailsford has instilled into his cycling team. Motivating yourself after Olympic wins, Tour De France wins and many others may ask “well how do you better this, how can you keep going”. That alone makes a leader stand out continuing with the same ambitious and passion to become the best.


Furthermore, as well as still being very much at the heart of cycling. David Brailsford is often in his spare time sharing his wisdom about leadership to many people within the field of business. The industry forum of business excellence through inspired people quoted a top 4 tips about the leadership style and how we can bring this back to our own styles of management.


Starting with a clear vision and understand how to win.

Each of Brailsford’s cycling teams’ starts by defining what winning looks like. Working hard to create a strategy to get them to accomplish goals.


Do the simple things excellently.

There have been some occasions where success hasn’t come easily and it’s about analysing and learning from why. During the 2010 Tour De France Brailsford made a famous quote “they concentrated on the peas rather than the steak”. Effectively breaking this down by saying we focused on the intricate touches rather than our basic performance.


Behavioural change only comes from within.

This element to Brailsford’s leadership focuses on finding out what makes everyone want to improve and as a leader tailor your delivery accordingly to that specific person.


Give ownership and make people feel wanted.

Brailsford indicated that by creating the appropriate working conditions and atmosphere performance can increase by around 30%. This is transferable to all work we do, as a leader examine your own techniques. Have everyone feel that they have a part in the journey and that they can shape their own destiny. 

To conclude, whist Sir David Brailsford has mastered the art of elite level sport, he is the ideal concept of a leader. If you feel you can achieve something and carefully select the right people to share that vision and feel valued and appreciated for the contribution they can make then success will come. 


It’s about learning from setbacks and using them to improve. It’s about time, devotion and patients if you believe in something see if through. To leave you with this though shared by Brailsford in 2012, “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together”.

Greenfield IT has a team dedicated to recruiting tech and digital skills for the sports industry. We support a number of major UK sports clubs and governing bodies, but we also work with a number of sports tech firms whose products and services are focused on the sector.

Follow us for selected sports industry tech insights and career opportunities in this space. To find out more about how we can help your career in sports tech, or should you require support building your team. Contact Eleanor Carter.