What Can We Learn From Gareth Southgate’s Management Style And The England Team 0f 2018?
Aside from allowing us to realise our love for the waistcoat, showing the male population how to pull one off, and reigniting England’s passion, uniting the nation in a will to see the boys rise to glory once again, what have we learned, if anything, from the phenomenon that is Gareth Southgate and the 2018 World Cup England Football team?
From the outset, we have heard and witnessed a very different approach to team mentality from many other managers, and have seen that the whole team, he included, appear to have an unusually close bond and equal relationship with each other.
“Gareth Southgate’s tenure as England Manager can be summed up in three words – freedom, flexibility and openness,”
1) Allow The Team To Grow & Know Themselves.
The team has been given confidence and the freedom to explore their own abilities and limits, flex their own muscles, (literally and figuratively) to build their confidence naturally and with strong foundations.
Southgate noted he was allowing the youthful squad to ‘enjoy the ride’, not being the most experienced team, they need to gain this experience and regularly compete to do so. This is something often discussed in the recruitment and management sector, by managers and employees and candidates alike. Gaining experience in an industry where experience is expected to secure a position is no mean feat! Seeing the passion and ability to grow in your team or new candidates may be one thing you might like to take away from this World Cup.
2) Pressure Levels.
England have never thrived when it comes to penalties, Chris Waddle’s high shot which took us out of the world cup against Germany, David Beckham in 2004 Euro’s, Steven Gerrard, David Batty and even Southgate himself missed a penalty in Euro 1996. As onlookers, we can only imagine the pressure on those shoulders before taking a penalty for your country, so how then did Southgate approach this and ensure his team weren’t joining the long line of England teams who inevitably lost on penalties?
Gareth worked with his team to concentrate on the ‘process’ not concentrating purely on the outcome; breaking the challenge, whatever that is, down to the member of your team focusing on what they are doing at that time, their own task, and executing that task as well as they possibly can. The long-term goals can be built and achieved gradually from this point upwards. Each member of the team carrying the whole pressure of the end outcome throughout the entire process can often be counterproductive.
3) Team Development.
In a sporting team, there needs to be a ‘team mentality’, the culture of the club is reflected hugely in the way that the team performs so this culture needs to be strong, open, honest and positive. This year’s World Cup team from their own admission has formed a trusting and family-like relationship which they travelled to Russia with, relishing in each other’s success and pride in their achievements. Past England players have spoken about the 2010 club cliques working against the team environment, and the 2018 team appear to have built strong bonds, team-wide, allowing them to deeply and genuinely support, push and pull each other to succeed.
4) Attitude In Defeat
Upon announcing the team, Southgate has spoken about learning from failures and growing from them; there has never been a ‘we cannot lose, we must win!’ mantra set for this England team. The mentality goes hand in hand with the ‘Pressure Levels’ we spoke of earlier, but also shows that failure is not something to be feared but learned from. After their devastating defeat against Croatia on Wednesday, the England Manager still sung the praises of the team he created and through the inevitable disappointment panged optimism and the opportunity for his team to learn, grow and improve because of it!
We couldn’t quite manage the trophy this year, but the team and the nation’s new icon, Gareth Southgate have given us something to take away and apply to our businesses, organisations and teams of our own.