The Manager’s Lucky Socks 

When good fails to turn into great. When the sum of the parts isn’t greater than the whole. When a talented senior management team never quiet reaches the heights expected. Then people look at the leader. What’s missing? It’s the Don Revie effect. What they might have and should have been.

Revie’s psychological flaw was his insecurity reflected In his numerous and well documented superstitions.  The legendary Leeds United boss believed the images of bird brought bad luck; wore a ‘lucky’ mohair suit for games, even when the trousers became so threadbare his players were embarrassed to point out they could see his underwear; and took the exact same route to Elland Road on matchdays, refusing to return home if he had forgotten anything.Things were so bad that he once summoned a gypsy to Elland Road to remove a curse that he believed had been placed on the ground to stop his side winning.


To be intensely pragmatic , to be meticulous  in your preparation and planning, as Revie was, and yet be not convinced that you control your own fate. Maybe the fact of being so though in planning encourages the belief that the only thing that could go wrong would  be down to bad luck. The believe that if you don’t succeed it was not down to poor planing, a lack of expertise or effort but to sheer bad luck or the conspiracy against you.

With other leaders their flaw maybe their temperament those angry outburst in response to frustration and stress. In others a messiah complex where they believe they are on a morale crusade to save the world so there actions and decisions are not open to rational debate. In some cases despite being very successful some leaders flaw is that they don’t believe they deserve their success. 


But in all cases these flaws eventually rub off on their teams. If the leader is brilliant but flawed the team built in their image will also be.


Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger 

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