When Gareth Southgate was appointed the England manager in 2016, many people didn’t have much faith in him as his quietness was mistaken for weakness and his thoughtfulness for lack of direction, but he worked hard to get the team playing together, without any hint of ego or behind-the-scenes problems that previous England teams have had.
Since missing a penalty resulted in England going out of Euro 96, Gareth has forged an impressive career in charge of the national team. He has earned worldwide praise for not only his achievements as manager of the England team but also his work on inclusivity and diversity issues too.
After The Three Lions defeated Denmark to reach the final of Euro 2020, Gary Neville described his former England teammate as “everything a leader should be”1, as he became the first England manager since 1966 to take the country to a final of a major tournament. So, what can we learn from Gareth Southgate’s leadership style? See if our top tips can inspire you to try something new in your workplace:
- Lead by example: As a leader, part of your job is to inspire the people around you to step outside of their comfort zones and push themselves to the best of their abilities. To do this, you must show your team the way by doing it yourself. If your team can see you are not afraid to get your hands dirty and are passionate about your work, then they will be too.
- Be honest & authentic: You need to believe in what you’re doing to encourage your team to believe in it too. Have open and honest communication and give clear direction of the goal. To be an effective leader, you need to be fully transparent with your team. Even if this includes a difficult conversation, you need to be honest rather than telling them what they want to hear. Ensure you are also open to suggestions – listen to their ideas and take them on board.
- Trust: The more your team trust you and each other, the greater the likelihood that they will feel valued, share ideas and help drive each other towards the overall company goal. Give your team the confidence to create great work, helping the organisation to run smoothly, increase positivity and improving company culture.
- Make time for your team: Now and then, we all need a bit of encouragement and guidance. Take the time to talk to each member of your team individually to gauge the skills they need to go further in their roles, and make sure they know your door is always open. Create an open and honest atmosphere where team members feel they can come to you if they need some extra support and advice.
- Be brave: There may be times, within your career, when you need to make tough decisions or have difficult conversations. It is important to handle these sensitively to avoid any situations escalating. Don’t dodge the hard times – good leadership includes careful thinking and clear communication. Be bold – once you have made a decision, stick with it and make sure you can justify it to your team.