As a leadership coach I spend a lot of time helping leaders and managers learn valuable lessons about good practice. Resources abound telling us how to maximize team effectiveness and creating a culture of productivity. Yet, some lessons are so simple and accessible that we may even fail to recognize them!
The current frenzy in the UK is how the England Football Team have performed in the Euro’s. At the time of writing England have won a place in the final and have had a resurgence under the management of Gareth Southgate. The reasons for the success under Gareth and many, but one aspect caught my attention following the quarter-final win.
At the post match interview, he was asked about the success and performance of the team that he skillfully redirected to talk about his ‘current headache’. That ‘current headache’ was articulated in some detail which was to decide who to leave out of the team for each game. He then went on to name each of the players that although part of the squad, were unlikely to get the chance to play. These included the two back-up goal keepers who clearly put in a huge amount of training and yet will only ever play if the number one faces an issue.
Despite repeated attempts by the interviewer to get him to explain the on-pitch success he continued to extol the importance of the squad depth. No one on the pitch, got a name check, not even the goal scorers. He overtly and explicitly continued to talk about the squad and the importance of the unsung heroes. This is one simple example showing how Gareth retains a focus on the team, not on the individuals. So many leaders talk about the importance of the team and then completely undermine that message through name-checking star performers or individual contributions. Gareth had successfully used his platform to ensure the invisible players are no longer invisible!
Who are your ‘unsung heroes’?
How can you highlight their contribution?
What do you need to do to ensure others appreciate their value?