Berger Leadership Blog

Jun 27, 2014

Leadership lessons from the World Cup


If your organization is anything like mine, you’ve likely noticed a general uptick of interest in ESPN and maybe a slower Internet speed at work. The World Cup brings with it excitement, camaraderie, strategy and a healthy dose of competition – not unlike the business world.

Krauthammer, a leadership website, explains five lessons from “football” that you can apply to your business, including the need to:

- Combine passion with performance. Coaches know their players – their strengths and weaknesses and how to use their skills successfully. How well do we, as leaders, know our team?

- Keep control. “An extraordinary coach always keeps success in sight but takes responsibility for failure and accepts the penalty that comes with losing.”

- Match the message to the moment. A good coach knows when to talk tough and when to offer encouragement.

Sir Alex Ferguson managed England’s Manchester United team for 27 years. During that time, Manchester United won 13 league championships and 25 other domestic and international trophies. He offers some leadership style advice, including this nugget on the need to adapt: “Most people with my kind of track record don’t look to change. But I always felt I couldn’t afford not to change. My job was to give us the best possible chance of winning. That is what drove me.”

That same desire for success – for our organizations as well as our team – should drive all of us.