Blog | A world lesson in leadership

15 August 2018

It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, the nation was gripped by World Cup fever. Despite my home nation failing to qualify for the tournament this time, I was very happy for all of my English colleagues who were celebrating their team’s achievements at reaching the semi-finals.

As well as enjoying the sport, I found watching the world cup was even more interesting when I viewed it from a different perspective. I started to think about what makes a winning team, observing Gareth Southgate’s leadership style and his management of the squad.

Gareth Southgate was hitting the headlines for his strong leadership of the team, his integrity, and for looking out for his players. These are key attributes that every team, organisation or business requires, providing a solid foundation for growth, and ensuring the wellbeing of its members or employees. In my opinion, here are four attributes that Gareth demonstrated during the World Cup, which all good leaders should possess:

  1. He thinks about the long term effect. In 2016, he was quoted saying his “view of the game is that you manage every game like you’re going to be there forever, and make decisions for the long term. In any club or organisation, you have to think about the long term.” This is so true if you want business success.
  2. He chooses the right players for the team, and allows young blood to mix with experience for the strongest chance of success. Many of the players Gareth chose for his squad have come through from the England Under-21s, and were given room to shine, both as individuals and as part of the team.
  3. He has a ‘collaborative management’ style – he helps players express themselves, lets them know what is expected of them and then helps them achieve it. I find in my role that, when making important decisions, a discussion on an equal basis with my colleagues is always valuable. Of course the final decision is always down to me but I find that discussion makes that decision stronger.
  4. He has integrity, and with that, the trust of his players. They understand that the decisions he makes are for the right reasons and are not influenced by outside factors. They trust him to look out for them. As part of my role here at Facilicom UK, I am responsible for taking care of company culture, and to cultivate trust and mutual respect.

I have been fascinated to observe his management skills on a world stage for all to see, and hope that current and future generations of leaders take note of his skills. Who knows, with Gareth Southgate at the helm of a strong, youthful yet experienced team, the nation could be celebrating as champions at the Euros 2020!

Jan Hein Hemke.
Managing Director at Facilicom UK & Ireland