Jacqui Hurley has presented Sunday Sport on RTE Radio 1 for 10 years and was the first ever female anchor of the show in its history. She recently anchored the World Cup coverage on RTE television and is a regular presenter of the sports news on RTE News bulletins.
Jacqui has covered two Olympic Games for RTE Sport and has represented Ireland in basketball and played camogie for Cork.
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
I think it can. It’s all about putting yourself in an environment where you can learn from others and understanding what it means to be a good leader. I can think of plenty of examples of people who are good leaders but are not necessarily big talkers, so it’s about learning the values of leadership by everyday examples.
What has sport taught you about leadership?
It really starts with learning to be confident in your own ability and becoming your own leader. I always felt once I knew my job, I could be confident in helping others with theirs. In doing that, I also learned to understand that not everyone wants to be a leader – some people like to be led. So it’s knowing what works best for the team, to get the most out of everyone.
The world around us is changing faster than at any time in human history and we need more leaders to emerge. How do we make this happen?
By creating an ever-growing environment where knowledge can be shared. Future generations will build on what’s come before them, so the more tangible leaders they see, in whatever industry it is, the more opportunity they will have to learn. By doing that, the chances of creating more leaders are greatly enhanced.
What is the one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
Leaders need to be big enough to admit their mistakes and this isn’t always a given. If you build a team, you have to be able to win and lose with that team and never let ego get in the way of that. The other key part of leadership is understanding what every member of the team brings to the table – a good leader will always recognise what’s best for the team and make sure everyone feels involved in the process.
What advice would you give to someone dealing with a high-pressure situation in their life or work?
Share the problem. Whether that means talking it through with peers, or actually physically sharing the workload, it can relieve a huge amount of stress. You should never be afraid to ask for help – while there’s a perception it may be seen as a weakness, in reality, the opposite is true – it’s a strong character who knows when to seek help.
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
I’ve always liked the idea of having mentors or go to people, who you bounce certain things off. They don’t need to be in your industry, they just need to understand you. I’ve always had one or two people I’ll ring or meet if I’m looking for advice and I do the same for others. There’s a podcast I like called “Masters of Scale” with Reid Hoffman, where he speaks to different leaders in a range of different industries and it’s also well worth a listen.