Not normally one for football, but like many, I was drawn into following England and watched them play in the 2018 World Cup. It has been interesting, exciting, emotionally challenging, frustrating, disappointing and enjoyable all at the same time.
Watching England got me thinking about the reasons behind their success and I think that a large part of their success is a result of Gareth Southgate's leadership style.
Based entirely on media reporting and anecdotal evidence, here are some leadership traits I have observed in Gareth Southgate and which I believe have made a difference to England’s performance: -
He remained calm and measured almost all the time and knew when to let his emotions out. He did not seem to crave the limelight, preferring to allow his team to speak. He showed a great deal of humility.
He created an atmosphere in which his chosen players could thrive. It appeared to be a supportive and nurturing atmosphere where successes were celebrated and failures were learnt from. It seemed to be safe to try out new things and have fun doing it (throwing a rubber chicken around during a training session for example).
He positively encouraged wives and children to travel to Russia to support their partners and they could get together after matches to help the players relax, again creating a nurturing and caring atmosphere.
Identifying and developing talent
His chosen team players are not all necessarily the finished product. He has mixed up the levels of skill and experience. There are no egos in the team.
He set a tone for how to behave and rather than micromanaging the team, he treated them like adults. It was reported that he let the team decide for themselves if they wanted to leave their mobile phones off during team meals, so they could focus on talking to each other and building relationships.
What do you think? Is England's success down to Gareth Southgate's leadership style or something else? If you are a business leader and need a mentor, we can't offer Gareth Southgate, but we can offer similarly impressive leaders. For an initial conversation, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on +44 20 3290 9969 or book a FREE call at https://calendly.com/pragmatiks.