“You need so many different types of personalities and different skill sets in your team. They all complement each other. The really good coaches are the ones that get that balance right.”
Nathan Grey believes teamwork is a very individual thing. Achieving cohesion within that team involves genuinely good people looking after each other on and off the field as well as being diligent and hard working. Hugest congratulations to Nathan who, since recording, has been confirmed as the Head Coach of the Junior Wallabies under twenties team. Based on his mindset around culture, leadership and teamwork Rugby Australia and the Junior Wallabies are very lucky to have him on board.
As a player, Nathan was known as a hard-nosed and straight running inside centre who gave his all for his club, state and country. He was born in Gosford and was educated on the Gold Coast where he played three years of first XV rugby for The Southport School (TSS) alongside former Wallaby Captains Nathan Sharp and James Slipper. He represented Australia at under 19 and under 21 levels in 1997 and debuted for Queensland (QLD) against New South Wales (NSW) in Sydney but by the end of the year, he had turned to the ‘dark side’ and toured with the NSW Development Squad. Nathan was then offered a NSW contract and joined the Waratahs. He played 35 tests for Australia, starting in 19, over the course of his six year international career and was a key part of the golden era of Australian Rugby.
In 2011 Nathan had his first taste of coaching while playing in Japan. Seeing the opportunities for players to improve and helping them to achieve their goals, as well as seeing their confidence and growth, became addictive. Nathan realised he enjoyed coaching and the benefit it gave the players became his motivation. He was part of Michael Cheika’s coaching staff, that guarded the Waratahs to a maiden Super Rugby Championship in 2014 and was also part of the coaching staff for the Wallabies from 2014 to 2019. He joined the Sunwolves in Japan for the 2020 super rugby season in the role as Technical Director before taking on the recent role as High Performance National Programs Coach for Rugby Australia.
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Establishing a relationship with a team is critical for building an environment and creating a culture for performance. Today, on The Culture of Things (TCoT) Podcast, Nathan shares with us the attributes he associates with being an effective leader which are:
- Identifying your strengths and weaknesses on both a technical and personality perspective
- Being genuine on your delivery and how you want to present yourself
- Understand individuals and interchanging with different types of Leadership Styles to get the best out of the team
- Provide an environment where the players feel safe, comfortable and have trust in one another
- Show empathy and genuine understanding
- When delivering ‘shit sandwiches’ it is done in a way that the individuals contribution and opinion is valued
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As well as hearing the Junior Wallabies Coach talk leadership, it is also interesting to listen to the stories from his transient childhood as during this discussion Nathan also reflects on lessons he learnt growing up in Papua New Guinea and Fiji. These experiences taught him, as a player and as a coach, the ability to fit into and make the most of his environment, no matter what it is.
Click here to listen to our discussion where we talk all things culture, leadership and teamwork across business and sport as well as sneak in a quick game of GPS Trivial Pursuit. You didn’t think this Nudgee College ‘Old Boy’ would miss the opportunity of reinstating some private school rivalry with a Southport School ‘Old Boy’ did you?