Winning your own World Cup

27 Jun, 2019

Winning your own World Cup

What can we learn about leadership from football?

Once again football is in the spotlight with the success of the English women’s football team and the inspirational leadership of Philip Neville.

There is no doubt that Leadership is vital but how one leads has a massive impact. You don’t need to look very far to see the mayhem that is created by ineffective and ego driven leadership. The world is full of examples.

There are examples of great leadership too –and it is interesting how often it comes up in football. Philip Neville is the most recent example but the names of great managers and coaches are easy to think of: Alf Ramsey, Bobby Robson, Gareth Southgate…. You will doubtless be able to think of your own examples.

One of the reasons why people enjoy watching football (any team really) is that they relate to them and want them to succeed. People want to be a part of something and everyone wants to win. They want to have a leader who is as committed to the goal as the team and they feel engaged with the process of  preparing for a match, playing to win and then the post-match debrief to see how to get better for next time.

This is the type of leadership that I believe we should all be looking to cultivate for the future growth and prosperity of our lives and our businesses.

The work that I’ve been doing in organisations recently is really impactful. Many of the managing directors I work with are becoming more aware of the importance of this same type of engagement. They can see that, in most organisations, engagement is low.


Because people don’t feel they are a part of something that really matters and that they do not feel valued or supported. Unlike the collective commitment of a top performing football team, they can’t see how they fit or how their role, in combination with others, can lead to success.

What’s the answer here? It’s really quite simple, but at the same time radical. Organisations need to create and grow an environment where people feel valued for what they do, have an opportunity to learn and grow ,and see that they are a part of something that is significant and meaningful. That’s when people are at their best.

Recently, I was speaking at a conference at St George’s Park which is the home of English football.
I had the great pleasure of interviewing honorary professor Chris Roebuck, who features in my new book “Inspirators – The Leaders Journey” when I was there.  This is what he had to say about engagement


Check out my brand-new book to learn more about becoming an inspirational leader. Plus, when you purchase the book you get access to a wealth of interviews with some of the most inspiring leaders in business today.


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