On leadership (and football) – Gareth Southgate shows us a true example of the quieter leader

Mary Anne Radmacher quote

On leadership (and football) – Gareth Southgate shows us a true example of the quieter leader

In England right now, we’re in the middle of a great winning streak from our football team in the Euros, having made the semi-finals with a fantastic 4-0 win over Ukraine on Saturday.

Now, I am starting to feel a little out of my depth here, talking about football ūüôā

But, I have a slightly guilty secret – I’m a big fan of Gareth Southgate, especially since listening to some interviews he did at the end of last year when he released his book. ‘Anything is Possible‘.

It’s been ‘interesting’ watching the England matches with my husband, who is a big football and England supporter (a trivial fact for you – football led us to initially get together, way back in Italia 90).

Whilst he’s been verbalising his feedback on the players to the tv, I’ve been watching with interest the leadership of Gareth Southgate and admiring him even more.

What do you think of if I ask you to tell me qualities of a leader? Most people will think of outgoing personalities, with loud voices and a big presence.

Yet leaders come in all shapes and sizes, with varying personalities, but tend to share some common traits.

Gareth is an example of the quieter leader – someone who is thoughtful, considered, yet still highly passionate.

Let’s look at 3 common traits of leaders that Gareth is demonstrating

1. TRUST – in the earlier matches my husband (along with lots of other fans it seems) questioned the decision to play some players – namely the captain Harry Kane and Rahim Stirling. I won’t repeat his exact words here, but something along the lines ‘why are they are on the pitch? Get them off!’ I told him the manager trusts them and is showing that trust to them, despite popular opinion to the contrary – and guess what? These two players have been match-winners everytime, scoring in every game between them.

Show your team that you trust them (as long as you do!) and give them space to grow and add their value.

2. TEAM – in the past, the England squad seems to have had a handful of star players while the rest seem there to support. I’m definitely no football expert but I can spot a cohesive high-performing team, and that’s what I saw on Saturday night. Everyone supporting each other and working together rather than trying to shine individually.

“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit” – Harry Truman


3. HUMILITY – In the post-match interviews, whilst all players and the manager were obviously pleased with the result, they all highlight that their focus now is on the next game. They understood that it is now about the next match and the next result, with no time to gloat over the last one. Interestingly, lots of players in this squad have a background story – either coming from humble beginnings, the experience of adversity, or overcoming a challenging injury to take their place in the team.

“Humility leads to strength and not to weakness. It is the highest form of self-respect to admit mistakes and to make amends for them.” – John J McCloy


Football talk over now, where do you shine as a leader and what areas do you need to work on? After all, another great quality of leaders is that they are always learning!

Let me leave you with another of my favourite quotes:

‚ÄúCourage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes, it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day that says “I will try again tomorrow.” Mary Anne Radmacher


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Alison Bradford

Alison Bradford is a business coach who works with smart, ambitious business owners to get clarity about how they can grow their business and increase profit. Sign up here to learn 6 easy ways you can boost profit in your business today.
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