How to be an effective and impactful leader.


In the latest session of my ‘MASTERMIND. With Sherrie’ we had a rockstar keynote speaker that has been a major inspiration to me and super close to home.


Born and bred in Townsville, Rugby league has been integral in my life.

Growing up I was one of the Cowgirls cheerleaders supporting the NRL North Queensland Cowboys. My uncles, brothers and cousins ALL played footy and my family also helped build the original Dairy Famers stadium and football grounds in Townsville where they donated their time, equipment and materials.


Having living rugby league legend, Johnathan Thurston join us to speak on ‘leadership and performance excellence whist working in teams’ has been one of my favourite sessions so far.


JT has had an IMPRESSIVE football career, having played with the Cowboys and Bulldogs, playing for both NSW and QLD in the State of Origin and as an indigenous All-Star and representing Australia.


He is also the only player to have ever won the Dally M Medal 4 times for the NRL player of the year and has been recognised and awarded with the Golden Boot as the world’s best player 3 times over.


Having to embrace becoming a leader a team at such a young age (24!!!) here are some of the lessons he shared with the Masterminders.



Understand how your ‘troops’ communicate and process criticism and meet them there.

If you are having to have tough conversations with your team, to come to a resolution you need to understand the way your team members communicate and process information. Everyone reacts differently to constructive criticism but it’s your responsibility as a leader to deliver it in an effective manner so that your team progresses. Everyone wants to feel valued and part of something special and JT realised very quickly that he had to learn what this was for each player.


JT being made captain at 24 understood that there were players in the team that might not take direction or feedback from someone so much younger and less experienced. So, he initially set up a leadership team to help him establish himself and ensure that any communications were being delivered to teammates in the right way. The leadership team met every Monday, to analyse their own individual performances first and then the rest of the team to see where they could improve. This was then fed out to the team by the right leadership team member at the time.


The purpose of the leadership team was not to delegate tough conversations, it was to help JT integrate into the role and as he became more comfortable in the role and build the relationships within the team as a leader, he took over more and more of the feedback/tough conversations.


Never ask your team to do something that you aren’t prepared to do or haven’t done yourself first.

Part of leadership is leading by example. If you are asking your teammates to step up and perform in a way that you aren’t delivering it won’t land. Don’t ask your team members to perform a task that you aren’t prepared to do yourself.


Maintaining your own performance excellence means you putting in the work on yourself.

JT was very driven in his career. He learnt from many setbacks in his youth that he had to work hard himself to deliver the performance that he expected. JT was always the first to arrive and last to leave.


He realised that things off the field are just as important as on. So, he tracked and worked the data and watched video replays to see where he as an individual player could improve and where there were opportunities to best his competition.


He learnt that as a leader, everyone is watching you. From your teammates to kids and adults. The way that you apply yourself both on and off the field is being observed and he wants every interaction that he has with people to be a positive one.


Always be working on yourself.

JT worked hard on himself to achieve what he has. He learned how to block everything out so that he could achieve what he needed to achieve. Any setbacks or knockbacks you get shouldn’t deter you from reaching your dreams.


He was always analysing his performance and looking for the 2% where he needed to learn and grow. There is always room for improvement


‘MASTERMIND. with Sherrie’ is a high-end 6-month program designed for business leaders, owners, selling principals and high performing agents with a team or those wanting to build one! It’s designed to elevate your career and learn from innovators, educators, and the best of the best in their industry to implement in your own lives.


If you are interested in registering your interest to be on the intake list for next season, you can find out more here: sherriestoror.com/mastermind.

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