If you didn’t know the name Sarina Wiegman this time last week, we’d forgive you that knowledge void. But there are leadership lessons that can be learned.
From today, however, the name of the manager of the England women’s winning side is likely to be far more widely referenced – not only in football, but in any subject matter on great leadership and management.
As the nation continues to rejoice at England’s 2-1 victory over Germany, we’ve been assessing what lessons can be learned from Wiegman when it comes to building and developing a winning team.
These insights are as important whether you’re leading sporting heroines out onto the pitch, or whether you’re responsible for a pressured team of professionals in the workplace.
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Take Time to Know Your Team and the Individuals Within
If there’s one thing Sarina has always been applauded for, in her role as head coach of the Dutch national team and beyond, is that she has always believed in understanding the style and attitude of each player, and then creating cohesion which benefits the overall game.
She’s been quoted as saying how she thinks respect for one another is key to every team, and that this better serves the mission in hand.
Learn from this by taking time as a manager to embrace 1-2-1 opportunities, understand individual motivations and create a group approach which sees individuals coming together in a way which plays to the strengths of everyone.
Don’t get distracted by the ‘noise’
Some say Sarina is particularly good at switching off the background chatter of media, social speculation and anything else she might regard as a distraction.
There’s much to learn in this.
Remember that all businesses operate different ‘game formations’ and work toward a different goal at a different timescale.
Set your own course for your workforce, and be sure not to be too distracted by what others seem to be doing in fellow businesses or sectors.
Be led by what is right for your team and their immediate needs.
Show your human side
We’ve all seen the emotional response from the England victory, and Sarina has clearly evidenced her very human side within this.
To show vulnerability, nervousness, jubilation and even, at times, sheer fear, is all perfectly understandable in any role of great stature, particularly where it is measured and responded to appropriately.
Don’t be the robotic manager who seems not to care about the highs and the lows. Empathise with those you lead. Know how much the journey of the rough and the smooth affects them.
Be Ready to Make Difficult Leadership Decisions that won’t Please Everyone
As a manager, not all of your decisions will be popular.
Sarina knows that all too well.
There are times when she’s had to leave the preferred player off the pitch, to substitute a tiring player, or to compromise a starting line-up because of an ultimate gameplan.
Being a manager, you’ll face the doubters and the critics, but do what’s right for the greater good, and be sure you maintain your eyes on the prize.
Be a Motivator and an Evaluator
Sarina is well-liked and respected in part because of her prior history as a player, and because of her success historically with the Dutch side.
This history makes her even more successful as a motivator, and all her current players say she has that capacity in spades.
She’s also great at reflection and evaluating, often mentioning in interviews how she makes notes about performance and goes over what could be improved.
Be the manager who motivates your team, but also the one who is keen to reflect and assess on how things could be improved.
For more information about building a team, contact MAD-HR today.