With so much negativity and divisiveness surrounding us, there are so few people in the world who can uplift and inspire us. However, Siys Kolisi is such a man. He is the first black captain of the South African rugby team who led them to their second successive World Cup final on Saturday night.
It is often said that the organisation/team reflects the character of their captain/leader. Well, the South African team showed unbelievable grit, belief and resilience in their narrow semi-final victory over England on Saturday. England led for 78 minutes of the match, but S Africa remained focused despite extreme pressure and won an epic contest by one 1 point in the last 2 minutes.
The team epitomises the values of their leader, Siya Kolisi. A colossus on the field but arguably, an even greater man off it.
He has overcome so many hardships and traumas in his life to become the 1st ever black South African captain:
🔶He was raised by his grandmother in a 2 bedroom house with 5 people
🔶His grandmother died when he was 12 years old
🔶Experienced so much poverty that " it went past hungry, it was actually painful in my stomach. I could feel my intestines twisting in the night"
🔶Siya had to overcome loneliness and isolation as he could not speak a word of English when he started school
🔶During his early career, he had to deal with a drinking problem but showed real resilience in his ability to overcome it and to help others
It's worth listening to his press conferences as he is a superb orator and his values as a leader are also often highlighted. For me, his greatest attributes as a leader are:
💚Authenticity - he is always true to his beliefs and his actions always show that
💚Empathy and compassion - He is able to show high levels of emotional intelligence and humanity towards his teammates as well as other people
💚Vulnerability - he is able to express his emotions and feelings, even during difficult episodes
💚Builds trust - he is able to build deep connections at a human level within his team which inspires his teammates to consistently perform at high levels
There are not too many people who make you sit up when they speak but he is one of the very few - a great leader BUT also a great human being.