Who do you think of as a great leader? Sir Winston Churchill, Bobby Moore, Mahatma Gandhi, Sir Clive Woodward, Nelson Mandela, Sir Alex Ferguson, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Alexander The Great, Julius Caesar?
Taking a simplistic overview the list indicates that there are many opinions about what makes a great leader. There are however certain common threads. A clear vision, the ability to influence others, decision making, the ability to communicate, longevity, tenacity and an indomitable belief to highlight a few.
Strong leadership in any area of life is undoubtedly a key factor determining success. There are though as many different ways to lead as there are personality types. No two leaders lead in the exact same way. Success coaches will tell you that the duplication of successful methodologies by learning from others is a key factor in self development. The danger may be if we lose our authenticity and try to be someone we are not. Being authentic and developing your own style of leadership by being the best version of you is, I believe, a fundamental of real success. As Shakespeare’s Hamlet said: ’This above all: to thine own self be true.’
Leadership in football though has always fascinated me. From the authoritarian patriarchal manager of the early 1900s through the unbridled force of individual personalities in the latter part of that century to the modern styles dominated by tactical methodology and media demands.
Great teams demonstrate achievement of success through the combined force of leadership from within the group. Great teams have leaders on and off the pitch. It is not just about a strong and dominant individual at the helm. It is so often about the creation of mastermind groups and as Margaret Meade so aptly put it: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.’
The age old nature nurture debate is certainly alive and well in the arena of leadership. My standpoint is that there are undoubtedly people born with a natural affinity to lead. However the skills and attributes necessary to lead successfully can be learnt and honed given the right circumstances.
Within this website you will find an evolving resource of information to help you develop as a leader in your own sphere with a specific focus on football management and coaching. So enjoy, profit and remember leadership is often taken not given.