The England gaffer sets an example for the business benefits of compassionate leadership. Dr Simon Hayward from Cirrus comments in The Telegraph.

Gareth Southgate’s leadership has enabled England to surpass almost everyone’s expectations. Even before victory against Sweden, the manager was winning respect from across the business community. His compassion and dignity have impressed many, and some corporate leaders believe that both qualities are key components of the team’s success.

The early signs of a new style of leadership emerged when defender Danny Rose talked openly about his battle with depression – the result of a new culture that enables and even encourages players be more open and honest about their personal lives and how they’re feeling.

Leaders need a vision to inspire their team to follow them, but the best plans are rarely hatched in isolation.

Mr Southgate worked with his squad to analyse what was best from former winners of the World Cup, as well as borrowing ideas from other sports. But the England manager also appealed to his young team’s sense of adventure, by describing their campaign as precisely that.

Dr Simon Hayward, CEO of the consultancy, Cirrus, and author of The Agile Leader, says that all bosses need a vision. “They need that and the ability to develop a plan with people,” he says. “It helps if they work to refine the vision, as well as the plan to get there, with their team, so that their passion can be shared and multiplied.”

But all leaders need to be able to make big decisions and take responsibility for them. Mr Southgate has not shirked this responsibility; his big choice came when he rested eight players for England’s final group game against Belgium. Had his team failed in their next match against Colombia, the manager may well have been in the firing line.

But England were victorious, winning on penalties and, here, Mr Southgate’s own previous failings and vulnerabilities were turned into a strength.

“He famously missed a penalty for England, but turned that error into a lesson for himself and others,” says Dr Hayward. “He knew that planning, preparation and lots of practice would be required to get over the psychological block that comes with wearing an England shirt: failing a penalty.”

 

© The Telegraph 2018

Read this article in full on The Telegraph website.

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