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Sunday, 21 February 2010

Tough Love or the Easy Life?

Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, was equally legendary for his quotes, one of which was “I want you to be fired with enthusiasm, because if you aren’t, then you will be fired – with enthusiasm”. He took a failing team and during his tenure, they won five out of eight Super-Bowls.

Another of his quotes was “The only place where success comes before work, is in the dictionary”.

Question – did he love his teams and did they love him? You bet they did, even if they were probably terrified of him.

Here in the UK possibly the most successful football manager ever is Sir Alex Ferguson and no-one could ever say about him that he is a gentle soul. The stories about him are legion and the dressing room has echoed many times to the sound of his fury, not to mention the notorious hair dryer.

Again, how do his people see him? Manchester United, love them or hate them, have a culture of togetherness and if anyone bucks that trend, then their time with the club is limited. The departure of some high profile players over the years is testament to that fact.

The easy way out, of course, is to go with the flow and hope that people will conform. Generally, they don’t and it is the leader who gives firm direction with respect who succeeds.

The tough leaders engender respect while giving honest, fair and consistent feedback to their people and the most significant of those talents is probably consistency.

Most importantly, not only do they earn the respect of their people, they GIVE respect back to them, and that can be the most motivating criterion of all.


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You can contact us at ivan.goldberg@maa-uk.co.uk

1 comment:

David Caton Roberts said...

Once again Ivan you have been able to hit the nail on the head.

Between the lines of the post, it seems to me, you are also reminding all of us of the responsibilities of leadership.

Pet owners, Parents, Spouses, Neighbours, Bosses, Teachers, Policeman, each of us at times in our lives play the part of the Leader.

In some way and at some time we are all leaders and your message of "tough love or the easy life" reminds us that it is more than O.K. to enthuse, encourage and, expect great things of our followers.

In many ways a dose of firm direction, encouragement, and hand holding will ensure the success and wellbeing of our followers.

Our responsibility can not and should not be avoided.

One final point. As Leaders we need a coach, or a mentor, or a trusted advisor, or a friend who can both listen and tell.

If you have one of these you are lucky. If you do not have one find one. If you have all four then success, however that looks, will surely follow.