Football managers like Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho and from a
previous generation Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough are stand out
managers with impressive track records. They are extreme characters,
neither heroes nor villains although to the partisan they are both.
Their high profile and willingness speak their mind, their tendency to
court controversy, the level of scrutiny their teams performance are
subjected to, and the simplicity with which their effectiveness is
assessed show us management in the raw.
Managing at a football club is totally different to being a
senior manager in a Local Authority, or is it? Both are challenged to
motivate talented individuals. Both have a vision and a plan for the
future whilst being required to deliver improved performance in the
short term. In both cases recruitment and retention will reflect and
determine progress. The amount of money available and the priorities
for spending it are familiar discussions in both the boardroom and
cabinet. Both seek to manage their relationship with the media, build
links with the local community and aim to keep the public on side
despite some unpopular decisions and poor performances.
What is interesting is how they respond to these challenges.
Their management styles are/were very different reflecting both their
personalities and the times. Brian Clough was notoriously autocratic,
“ if we have a difference of option we discuss it and then agree I was
right”. Alex Ferguson was more your old school head master, he looked
after “his boys “ and famously trusted in youth. Jose Mourinho was the
young upstart he did not come into management the traditional way and
delighted in challenging the status quote. His philosophy was the end
justified the means the only thing that counts is success/ trophies.
Jurgen Klopp is the latest to achieve success with the emphasis on
culture and a convivial personality which doesn’t seek to hid his
passion for the job.
What I have observed is that past success is no guarantee of
future success, all managers however successful have their weaknesses,
a sense of humour, insight into how your behaviour effects others and
self belief are all useful characteristics for a manager. Finally some
times events conspire against even the best but not as often as they
would have you believe.
Of course management insights can be taken from any activity that
involves managing people and budgets but to me these people seem more
real and more relevant than studying the Fortune Top One Hundred
companies and a lot more fun.
Blair McPherson former Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk