We can learn leadership lessons everywhere, but we have football on the brain with EURO 2016 in full force. There have been many great football managers and teams, but we believe there are three core lessons we can learn from their intriguing leadership styles.
1. Delegation is not weakness
Arsene Wenger is the longest running manager of Arsenal, but his greatest success came when he hired help in the form of Martin Keown. Even though the team lost many key players due to injury, Arsenal won ten consecutive Champions League matches without giving up a single goal. Despite that performance, Wenger chose not to keep Keown in the following years and Arsenal hasn’t been as successful since.
“The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels.” -Eli Broad, Founder of SunAmerica
It’s important for leaders to understand that delegating isn’t a weakness. While it may be tempting to do as much as you can yourself, it isn’t the best idea. Bringing on talented team members will free you up to focus on what you do best, and will often lead both you and the team to success. On the field and in business.
2. Lead by serving
Quality leaders aren’t afraid to serve, and Leicester’s manager Claudio Ranieri is a terrific example. While many questioned the choice of Ranieri as the new manager, Leicester City’s success is undeniable. Many credits that success to Ranieri’s focus on servant leadership. Below is one of the most quoted statements of Ranieri's on leadership.
"I always thought the most important thing a good coach must do is to build the team around the characteristics of his players.”- Claudio Ranieri
And that’s exactly what all leaders should do. The best-laid plans and strategic tactics do no good if your employees are unable to perform the tasks required. Instead, start with the employees’ skills and design your strategy from there.
3. Don’t fear change
One of Sir Alex Ferguson’s (the former manager of Manchester United) secrets to success is “Never Stop Adapting”. Leaders should welcome change with open arms. Ferguson stresses the belief that “you can control change by accepting it.” Ferguson’s 26 seasons with Manchester United offered him many opportunities to accept change, and he even went as far as to bring about change on his own by increasing the team's focus on players’ health, employing optometrists and yoga teachers and building a state-of-the-art medical facility for United.
Change is inevitable in any organization. Instead of dreading it, successful leaders look at it as an opportunity. Some leaders, like Ferguson, even instigate the change themselves!
Whether you’re a football fan or not, hopefully, you can learn from these great managers and implement some of the lessons they’ve taught us. Because leadership is important to everyone, whatever industry you are in.
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