Leadership Lessons 2014 Fifa World Cup – By Christo Nel

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Jul
11

Louis van Gaal – The profile of a leader

In a game where, on average, players cover more than 10km, great football is often won or lost by mere centimetres. In the semi final against Argentina the Dutch lost by single centimetres. Still Louis van Gaal is widely recognised as the best coach at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He offers us distinct leadership lessons.

It’s all about people: For van Gaal it starts and ends with building superior teams of staff and players. His mantra is that the organisation must be managed in ways that are as human as the people within it. Continuity and loyalty, playing off people’s strengths, relentless talent development, and extreme care in introducing the right new people guide his actions.

Environment of trust and courageous conversations: He engages everyone in creating shared values and encourages people to voice their views. Forthright discussion and dissent is valued and not shutdown.

Authentic leadership fingerprint: He comprehends and communicates his style of leadership. He is both trainer with rigorous requirements and coach with the touch of a deep and caring listener. He is committed to collaboration and retains the prerogative to make the final decisions.

Crisp purpose: The clarity of his continuously communicated vision, “We must at all times play dominant, attractive and attacking football” provides the focal point around which everyone rallies.

Paradox of strategy and immediacy: Van Gaal’s ability to gain commitment to a core strategy is matched by his capacity to respond in the moment. When required he gains the team’s unflinching commitment to shifts in real-time demands – followed with fierce execution.

Learn by doing: Finally, nothing remains static. His relentless drive of “analysis – focus – execution – evaluation” is his platform for the next round of learning and endless quest for excellence.

Challenging but not idealistic BHAGs – Als we die al doorkomen, wacht waarschijnlijk Brazilië – in mijn ogen de topfavoriet voor de titel. En qua klimaat zijn we straks ook niet bepaald in het voordeel.’

 

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