The work of a team should always embrace a great player but the great player must always work – Alex Ferguson
The time for speculation is over. In a few short weeks we will learn who are the true gladiators and who has been left to dream of what might have been. Yes, world cup fever is upon us. But however much it would be tempting to think of football as a mere game; as we watch the tournament progress we can learn much along the way about teamwork and about leadership.
It wasn’t just co-incidence that Alex Ferguson was invited to speak at the Harvard business school a few years ago. Football teams nowadays have eclipsed 11 players and are brands, teams, businesses in their own right. And getting the best out of the team means getting the best out of everyone from boot cleaner to star player. Talking the team to victory requires exemplary leadership in which hearts and minds are engaged in a single goal.
The five practices of an exemplary leader are all needed if the team is to succeed. Modelling the way with tactics, inspiring the vision to win, challenging the team to do more and be more, enabling them to play at their best and encouraging their hearts to be strong under pressure are all part of a winning formula.