Leading a high-performance sporting organisation requires a different management style to what you would find in a corporation, says Vodafone Warriors chief executive officer Cameron George.

"It's a different environment. I'm dealing with players. I'm dealing with skilled managers who sit below the CEO role but who have greater expertise in their field. We're in the public arena, where performance both on and off the field will determine whether we are successful. This means have to work in a very transparent way," he says.

To help navigate this, George, a panelist at next week's PwC Herald Talks on the transformation of leadership, has a simple management structure.

"It's flat. This enables me to communicate effectively downwards through the chain."


At the same time George defers to people who know what they are doing. "I'm big on staff empowerment and encourage a free-thinking mindset."

A lot of his job involves asking questions of his expert staff, particularly when it comes to the football side of the business.

"They tell me what they are going to do and what their plans are. My role is to listen and to make sure they have the appropriate support and resources to perform at the highest level," he says.

Getting the right people into the right roles is an important part of his approach.

"I engage an extremely expert and professional head coach. He carries more knowledge about the technicalities of the game. I trust him with that."

George believes managing people, even sporting stars, is easy when you sign the right people in the first place.

He says: "The important factor in transforming leadership here is all about empowering everyone. It means creating the right environment so they can fulfil their maximum potential on and off the field. When a footballer comes here to play, we want to make sure they are comfortable to achieve the best they can. I don't want to put any restrictions about that."