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  • Writer's pictureTania Caza

Leadership Lessons from the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team.

Tonight, I had the great honor and privilege to meet and hear from Jocelyne Larocque.

Jocelyne has won 2 Olympic gold medals and 1 silver playing for Canada’s Olympic Women’s Hockey team. She shared her journey and most interestingly spoke about “leadership” and how special and critical it was for the most recent team that won the Gold at the Beijing Olympics earlier this year.

Here were some of the inspirational leadership nuggets I picked up from her:

🥇 As a leader, what you say matters. What you do matters. But HOW you do it matters most. Two leaders who say and do the exact same things but one who is passionate, cares, listens and is empathetic will create a much higher level of followership.

🥇 Leadership is easier during good times. When you are hitting your goals, meeting targets, and things are moving along well, leadership isn’t tested as much. However, how you show up as a leader when times are tough, including your attitude and positivity, will determine how people will trust you and if they continue to follow you.

🥇 Be genuine. Continue to grow and work toward the best version of yourself, but don’t be someone you aren’t. People will appreciate you more for being honest, transparent and authentic.

🥇 Create an environment where everyone can show up as a leader themselves where their voice is heard and honored. Prioritize this through your words and your actions.

🥇 Decide together what kind of team you want to be “on and off the ice”. Find ways to collect everyone’s opinions and iterate until an inclusive decision can be reached. Then, evaluate it regularly to ensure the actions of the team are aligned with how they want to be. Don’t be afraid to change if that’s required.

Jocelyne said that this team worked harder and played harder for each other because of these principles and it was the best hockey she ever played in her life, coming from someone with a storied career! The Head Coach empowered an entire team of leaders who chose to come together as one team. Inclusivity, a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and being part of the decision of the culture they wanted to create, all led to players that went above and beyond as a team, rather than as a group of individuals. And, that got them the Gold.

There is no reason why these themes can’t be incorporated into the teams you lead. What is one thing you can take out of this list and start implementing today?

BTW - The first and likely only time I will ever have a gold medal around my neck!!! And, damn that thing was HEAVY!!

On a separate note, Jocelyn and others in the PWHPA (Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association) are on a mission to build and create a viable professional women’s hockey league in North America. There currently is not a place where women hockey players of this caliber can play competitively and professionally on a regular basis. And, never mind the issue related to pay equity for women professional hockey players compared to men; right now they can’t even play regularly. To learn more go to PWHPA | Professional Women's Hockey Players Association to support this important cause for professional women hockey players.


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