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Leadership framework for the sport and recreation sector

Leadership framework for the sport and recreation sector

A consultation process is underway in the sport and recreation sector to create a shared vision of what great leadership looks like (or could look like) in our sector. This shared vision will underpin the development of a world-class “Leadership Framework” for the sport and recreation sector.

To be successful, the sector needs more than leadership training programmes. It needs a culture of broad and deep leadership, with development opportunities for future leaders to acquire the important core skills at early stages in the leadership pipeline.

Over recent years, the Deloitte Global Human Capital survey has consistently highlighted ‘leadership’ as one of the most significant talent issues facing organisations around the world. New Zealand is no exception. Like many others, our sector faces new leadership challenges with an increasingly diverse and ageing population, in a rapidly-changing world. Research identifies that organisations with a culture of leadership at multiple levels (shared leadership) out-perform those organisations where leadership is hierarchical and title-or-role-based (top-down).


The Leadership Framework will reflect a shared vision, within the sector, for great leadership at multiple levels and across the broad range of settings that exist in our sector. It will describe exemplary leadership behaviours, at all levels, whether you are a paid employee or a volunteer.


The Leadership Framework project includes a significant amount of consultation in the sector to develop a shared vision of great leadership. Sport NZ has commissioned leadership consultants Winsborough Ltd to conduct this consultation programme, which includes extensive research, a series of interviews and focus group sessions up and down the country. The aim of the consultation is to capture diverse views and experiences from a wide range of paid workers and volunteers in sport and recreation. Winsborough is conducting the consultation process in three stages:

  1. document review and research (underway)
  2. a series of interviews of senior leaders in the sector (underway)
  3. a series of regional focus groups – involving selected participants at various levels and from a variety of settings throughout the country.


The Leadership Framework will be used by Sport NZ and sector organisations to inform and guide recruitment, retention, development and succession-planning strategies.


  1. Shared vision of world-class leadership in the Sector, and agreement of principles that underpin it
  2. A platform for recruitment, retention, succession and development strategies and activities that will provide the basis for programmes, tools and other resources
  3. Increased awareness of leadership principles through consultation with the sector to develop the framework
  4. Greater consistency in career and development opportunities within the sector.


Working with the sector, we will draw on existing leadership frameworks to inform the design and application of the Leadership Framework, including Sport NZ’s recently developed governance framework.


For further information contact Gretchen Young,

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