The importance of leadership skills can hardly be overstated, both in business and in football. Anyone who wants to succeed in these fields has to know what it takes be a great leader. Certainly, there are already hundreds of books about leadership and management on the market, but this time we’ll focus on football from the business point of view. Check what the greatest managers of the Premier League have to say about it.
The role of the leader is fascinating, complicated and difficult at the same time. Yet, quite surprisingly, many people get the impression that such work is simple. In the world of football, fans and journalists often think that manager’s role is as easy as playing a fantasy game, and consists only of buying and selling footballers. In business, lower-level employees tend to believe that the leader’s or manager’s role boils down to giving orders and judging effects.
The reality, however, is completely different. People forget how many factors define the manager’s role: they have to create environment for winners and successful players, face high expectations and obstacles, deal with constant stress and pressure, and stay at the highest level of concentration each day and hour, not only at work but during their whole day!
One of the world’s leading football leagues is an excellent source of good and bad examples of manager’s work. Today we’ll focus on the good ones.
Let us introduce you to 5 lessons from Premier League managers to business.
1. Develop individual management methods
When you look at managers in the Premier League, you can notice that each of them has a strong individuality. They have their own methods of management, unique rituals and work organization. Complex and high requirements often force them to take unconventional actions that may be incomprehensible, or even funny for some, but when they turn out to be effective, they inspire others and arouse admiration.
2. Make good use of being at the center of organization
The biggest clubs have an organizational model in which the manager is at the center of power. On one hand, he is accountable to the board and has direct contact with it. On the other hand, he often acts as a protective umbrella for footballers against journalists or criticizing fans. Skilful development of a strong position in all these situations may result in establishing great interpersonal relationships throughout the entire organization.
It is very similar in business. Manager stays in constant contact with the bosses and subordinates. He is reporting effects of department’s work and takes full responsibility for them. If he takes care of good employee management and is able to create a positive working atmosphere, they will be more likely to deliver the best possible results. What’s more they will put great trust in their manager and will be grateful that they are properly represented.
3. Enjoy your role at the center
…and don’t worry that not everything depends on you. Weak managers don’t like it when the board are watching their work. Strong and smart managers are happy when it happens. When a board member pays attention the work and it effects, it’s a sign that he wants things to improve.
Moreover, it provides an opportunity to build a strong relationship. In effect, the work gets more effective and does not take place mechanically, but is supported by those positive interpersonal relationships. Operating at the center of organization is a difficult role, but at the same time it’s a huge privilege. It’s true that manager has to meet great challenges – but it’s also true that the most successful leaders always enjoy them.
4. Develop a common vision and set priorities
First of all, as it was mentioned above, ensure good relations with the management. Then focus on your team.
It is crucial to understand the intentions of the senior managers first. Then you can do the job with your team as well as possible, and as it’s expected. To establish a fruitful relationship with the owner, the condition of having common vision must be met. When it is agreed upon, the manager should confidently share it with the team. If it works, the owner will know that he employed the proper person who is well-prepared to do his job.
5. Be focused on personal relations
Great leaders are often great speakers. They are able to influence the masses. But is this a decisive factor?
History shows that establishing constructive relations with individual people is equally or even more important. People have emotions, their own priorities, thoughts, perspectives, needs and fears. Taking them into account quite often turns out to be a serious challenge, but when properly dealt with, it usually proves more fruitful than anything else.
Everyone is different and everyone needs attention, more or less. Leaders all over the world, no matter if in sport, business or politics, know that building and maintaining strong relationships is often the biggest challenges. They will also admit that people management is the most time-consuming and the most difficult part of their work.
Nowadays, we live in a communication chaos, with our lack of time, and constant rush. It is so easy to forget about basic relationships, not to mention the need of stopping for a moment and having some more profound conversations. However, when such personal relationships are built, then it is much easier to learn, for example, about the problems of subordinates. This in turn can make it easier to solve them. There’s no doubt that private matters are usually reflected in the effects of work, whether it’s on the pitch or at the office.
Mike Carson, The Manager: Inside the Minds of Football’s Leaders.
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