Leadership and all that..

Published on:  April 2017

And so within weeks, members of my Consultancy fraternity would have fresh inputs on how success could be achieved in the marketplace. A rank outsider with 5000 to 1 odds, the Leicester Football Club has won the English Premier League. The accolades and credit are very much skewed towards the Manager, Claudio Ranieri, who joined the club last year and was expected to last only till Christmas. He proved his sceptics wrong and as the sedate Guardian newspaper breathlessly puts it “… Now the charming 64-year-old has masterminded perhaps the greatest fairytale in sporting history, proving a battalion of doubters wrong and winning not only the undying gratitude of all those in Leicester but admiration and no little love from around the world.

I wonder how critical is the aspect of “luck” in this achievement? Leicester narrowly avoided being relegated from the League last year , now wins it handsomely, whilst the Manager of last years’ winner the flamboyant Jose Mourinho was sacked mid way as Chelsea made a disastrous start and finally ended somewhere in the middle of the table.

How much does leadership contribute to a victory in any endeavour, be it a battle, a business or a sport? To quote the Guardian again “In the age of the individual’s veneration in football Ranieri, like Diego Simeone at Atlético Madrid, has made teamwork fashionable again.

Teamwork is one of those pet words in management jargon. Unfortunately, there is a yawning gap between the meaning and its actual implementation. My fraternity has oodles of bullet points to highlight what needs to be done (and not done) to build team spirit. Practice stumps theory and in many an enterprise the lack of teamwork is the primary cause for failure. Leaders like Ranieri rightly deserve all the credit .On taking over he consciously avoided making drastic changes in style since he appreciated the team spirit built by his predecessor. Also, he gave a free hand to the players promising them to intervene only now and then occasionally. Such humility and magnanimity are the stuff of genuine leaders.

Sridhar Chari – Sapience Research !

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