What shapes you? What are the deeply held beliefs which undergird your behaviour, what are the core
Throughout his managerial career, Sir Alex Ferguson took pride in the fact that he did not change while all around him there was constant change. Players became more powerful as their financial packages grew, the influence of agents crept stealthily into the game, commercialization became rampant, British football became increasingly international. Throughout these constant changes, Alex Ferguson remained a pillar of consistency. He remained true to his roots.
1) UNIQUE GENETIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL COCKTAIL
Ferguson was raised in a normal home in the tough, post war era. His father, a strict, hard- working man of his era, was an endearing influence in his life. Working class pride, intensity of shared experiences and loyalty to one's friends and family were the prized values of the day. This foundation provided Ferguson with a life-long sense of groundedness and centredness. These early days also provided him with a most valuable leadership skill - the ability to handle men of various backgrounds and characters. In attempting to find the secret of his longetivity in his managerial role, many have noted his ability to get the best out of everyone around him, especially his players, as one of the hallmarks of his managerial career.
At the time, Scottish football had an intensity and passion which was unmatched elsewhere. Parents and local schoolboy coaches were encouraging, disciplining, and coaching as they promoted a love of football as part of a clean code of living. While he grew, experienced and blossomed as a player and young man in this unique set of circumstances, Ferguson was learning that leadership was more tribal than organizational.
2) REALITY OF AN INNER THEATRE TOWARDS LEADERSHIP
The dynamics of our early environment stimulates within us an inner theatre towards leadership. An inner theatre is a learned predisposition of how we will react later in life when faced with possible growth opportunities. An environment filled with positive role models, stretching experiences, space for your gifts to blossom and your voice to be heard; will later translate into a teachable attitude towards possible growth opportunities. This could be the ability to recognize an opportunity, willingness to receive from coaches and mentors, and the essential emotional stamina to handle challenging situations well. An early environment with many negative and/or deeply scarring factors will predispose us negatively towards possible growth opportunities. We may have an unhealthy sense of independence, a fragile grip on reality, an underlying well of anger and a low level of teachability. All these factors may seriously impair our openness to possible growth opportunities.
3) LEADERSHIP OF FORCEFUL CONVICTION
Alex Ferguson is a product of his time and era. He brought a unique leadership style to the role of soccer manager. His hard-nosed managerial approach, emotional presence on the sidelines and terse press conferences has been a constant feature in the success of Manchester United over the past 20 years. His has been a leadership of forceful conviction as his strong personality and character was imposed on his environment. His inner theatre propelled him to constantly seek out new challenges, he had a constant need to win, and his energy and enthusiasm was seemingly boundlesss. The values, principles and convictions seeded in his growing up years were cemented over a 27 year period of managerial leadership which, in all probability , will never be repeated.
KEY LEADERSHIP LESSONS
1) BE TRUE TO YOUR ROOTS
"Leadership is the expression of the very best that has been invested and build into you"
2) GROW IN YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR INNER THEATRE.
As your self awareness deepens, so you will be in a position to more effectively handle the leadership challenges which will come your way.
3) YOUR CV MAY ONLY TELL HALF THE STORY.
Your potential for good leadership is more than what appears on your CV.