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A Leadership Minute: Leadership Lessons of Sir Alex Ferguson
Whether you’re a football fan or not, you’ve probably heard the news.
One of the most influential and successful football managers in the history of English football, Sir Alex Ferguson has announced his retirement from the sport.
Headlines and commentaries flooded cyberspace. There were over a million tweets about Sir Alex in less than 24 hours after the announcement. Whether they were his allies or his fiercest rivals in the sport, Sir Alex received tribute nonetheless.
If you don’t know already, Sir Alex was the man who built one of the world’s most successful franchises, Manchester United. In his 27 years in charge, he had won 38 trophies for the club, an unprecedented achievement.
But more than the trophies, there are precious takeaways we can learn from the man. If even your fiercest opponents can give you high praise, you must have done something right. I know Sir Alex has.
Sir Alex Ferguson saw the importance of instilling humility in his players. He never allowed a single player to rise above the club. The player is never above the club, he would say.
Over the years, there were superstars whose ego began to have a detrimental effect on the whole team. While most managers might compromise in order to keep the star, Sir Alex was ruthless in removing such people from within the organization.
He understood that if one man’s ego was allowed to be bigger than the club, the whole team would suffer.
2. Hard work, discipline and determination
Sir Alex was always the first to be in the training ground every morning. He expected extremely high standards of discipline and character from his players, whether they were youngsters or superstars. He didn’t just focus on their talents, he ensured that they had the character and determination to maximize their talents.
To him, the victory comes from sustained, persistent effort and determination, not just talent. Because of this, many players like David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Christiano Ronaldo flourished and became household names under his rule.
3. Succession is important
Sir Alex Ferguson saw the importance of constantly grooming players from their youth to play in the first team. For long term success, he saw that he had have a youth team that would take over the club in the future.
When he announced his retirement, he long prepared and thought about the man who would succeed him, David Moyes. In his retirement speech to the fans, he urged them to stand behind their new manager and give him the support, like they did for Sir Alex.
This approach was very different from a lot of the other top clubs in Europe; who bought top veteran managers and players hoping for instant results.
There are many more lessons we can learn from Sir Alex, but truly he is one of the finest sport leaders of our generation. I do encourage you to get his biography; I know you will be greatly inspired.
To your success,
New Articles on the Site
Honestly, Sir Alex Ferguson is one of my most admired leaders. I’m so impressed by how he can create a team that wins year after year without ever allowing his team to become complacent.
I’ve written an article about Sir Alex Ferguson some time ago; if you want to read more about him, please go to Sir Alex Ferguson Leadership
Recommended Books and Resources
Not only celebrating what Sir Alex Ferguson has achieved at United, this fascinating book also seeks to explain just how he has gone about creating this remarkable dynasty, constantly rebuilding the team and driving them forward to yet more glory. When Ferguson joined Manchester United in November 1986, he came with a great track record from his time in charge of Aberdeen.
But re-establishing the Reds as the most successful club in the land was an enormous task. Famously, he knew he had to knock Liverpool of their perch. At the dawn of the Premier League era, in 1992-93, United had gone 26 years without being champions, but that season Ferguson finally led the club to title success and in 2010-11 he finally achieved the record-breaking 19th title.
On top of that, Sir Alex has led Manchester United to two Champions League victories and many other trophies. In an era when most managers are lucky if they last two years, Sir Alex’s achievement of lasting 25 years at the very top is truly astonishing. This book is the club’s fitting tribute to his career. (Source: Amazon.com)
You can purchase the book from Amazon here.
Quote of the Month
“Only true champions come out and show their worth after defeat- and I expect us to do that”.
– Alex Ferguson