Rejuvenate or be relegated? Team performance and the new manager. Lessons from football.


Rejuvenate or be relegated? Team performance and the new manager. Lessons from football.

3 minute read | By Colin | Leadership

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What can we learn from football regarding team performance and management?

Every year as we approach the climax of the football season there are often six to eight clubs looking nervously over their shoulders, as they become entangled in the relegation dogfight. Success means essential financial investment and currency in the war for footballing talent. Failure is unthinkable.

Teams may perform poorly during the season, going through long spells without a win, and not giving the best they can. It often happens that club leaders, unsatisfied with the performance of their team and fearful of relegation appoint a new manager in a bid to turn their season around.

New managers have the challenge of accomplishing positive results with the same team that has been previously dysfunctional. So, how do they do it?

It’s all about team spirit

In football, each club has its own identity. Redeveloping this sense of identity is important for any team, as this gets team members involved in a new common, collaborative collective, and gives them a sense of belonging. Involving the team in generating the mission, values and goals means they buy into the new project.

Value the contribution of each team member

Players have a ‘clean slate’ with a new manager and are valued by their individual skills as well as their ability to work for the team. Each player in your team must understand their strengths, preferences and behaviours, and feel a unique part of an intricate mechanism. Educate the team to be more self-aware and importantly,  aware of others. There has to be mutual respect and trust for teamwork to flourish. Ensure your players understand their role in the team, what is expected of them and how that fits into the overall team’s pattern of play.

Manager involvement

Football managers stand on the pitch with their teams because they are a part of it. In business, the manager doesn’t stand alone in the organisation. He or she is supported by a team, but he or she is not above it. So, the manager too needs to be aware of the impact they make as their mood and behaviours will be quickly picked upon by the team and be a major influence on their mood and behaviours. Emotions are contagious.


So, what does a top performing team look like within your organisation? How can leaders rejuvenate and foster team spirit and engagement in a team?


Find out more about the Insights Discovery Team Dynamics programme by calling Colin Graves on 07881 636538 or click here to email.

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