For those who are not interested in the beautiful game of soccer, do not worry. This post is not about football, it is about leadership, the workplace and the mind. I have decided to use the stories of these experienced and successful coaches as examples. Jose Mourinho is a former Porto, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea coach who now coaches the great Manchester United Football Club. If success in football is defined by the number and calibre of trophies a team wins, then Mourinho is a successful coach. The same can be said of Jurgen Klopp, the former Borussia Dortmund coach who first came into prominence when he took the team to the finals of the most prestigious football competition in Europe. He now coaches Liverpool Football Club.
In the past year, the self-acclaimed ‘special one’, Jose Mourinho has had terrible times. News reaching me is that the cause of his calamity is from the village, a certain young, beautiful, smart doctor looking at him from the calabash. The once indomitable and insurmountable wall has become like a basket with visible holes for the world to see. As mother would say “the one who knew how to do it has been made to look like a novice.” The opponents who used to apply for visas before entering his territory and were often times denied entry have somehow found ways to gain access into the now porous border and have even built castles on his turf. In other words, his team played very poorly, scored few goals, allowed many goals in and began to lose football matches like never before. He switched teams from Chelsea to Manchester United and even though he is not as woeful as he was last year, it is safe to say that he is not where he used to be.
I have loved “the normal one”, Jurgen Klopp since his days at Dortmund. His team seemed to have an air of unity and purpose around them. A few weeks ago, while watching his new side, Liverpool, play, it struck me! This man was not just a football coach. He looked to me like a friend and big brother to the players. Of course, I am not in the dressing room and I do not know what goes on there but from what I see on and off the pitch, he has an excellent relationship with his players. Football fans will bear me witness. There is a palpable air of friendliness between the coach and his players. He is the kind of coach that the players will “die on the line” for. The kind of leader you know has got your back so you want to go all out for them. The one who does not criticize you publicly and make you feel like a total failure even when you obviously did not have the best of days in the office. He probably waits to see you one on one to discuss with you. He is visibly your number one fan.
Many of us are probably more familiar with the Jose Mourinho style of leadership. At work, our bosses do not have the time to push one or two jokes around. “We are here for serious business and if you want to laugh, visit Ali Baba. If you are going through an emotional issue, please see a psychologist. If it is a spiritual issue, go and meet your pastor, imam or your mum. But as far as I am concerned, my company work and productivity must not be affected.” You know those ogas that criticise openly and almost finish your life and existence with their caustic mouths in the presence of even junior colleagues.
I mean the ones who take the glory for success but are quick to look for a victim to take the shame of failure. You should be familiar with bosses who come into the office with their shoulders held high and might only give a nod or mutter an inaudible response when you greet them. These types of bosses are too busy to attend the naming ceremony of your child. You actually only matter to them the days you deliver at work.
For so long, this type of arrogant vertical leadership style has been prevalent and it has worked. One of the reasons it worked is because the leader usually had something the subordinate didn’t – experience, affluence and of course, control over the paycheck. But we are coming into that age when such style of leadership will actually cost the organizations in more ways than they could have imagined. Research shows that people deliver better results in an atmosphere of love and positive expectation rather than in a place where there is a thick air of hostility and negative expectation. Mourinho’s team at some point just had to fall apart. Some think the players staged a coup. I do not think so necessarily. The skills of his players were never in doubt. The problem was in their minds. The coach had knowingly or unknowingly messed up their psyches by his style of leadership, they just reached their elastic limit. For his first one or two seasons in a football club, Mourinho will do well and the players will deliver, but by the third year, the cup where they are storing all his negative actions and inactions will get full and the team will not be able to achieve its full potential anymore.
An emotionally intelligent boss will create an atmosphere for his subordinates to functional maximally with joy and peace of mind. Actually, sensible people will be humble and respect themselves when their bosses respect them. Many times, bosses want to force respect down the throats of their workers. I am not saying that leaders should permit just anything. Klopp, the example I have chosen to use, punished a player and relegated him to the reserve team because he went out on social media to lash his coach. I am not a supporter of bad behaviour neither am I a fan of mediocrity. Have an excellent team and workers with good knowledge, experience and skills but create a good support system for them to harness their skills and give you the results.
Violence, hostility, harassments, verbal and physical abuse in the workplace actually reduces work productivity and job satisfaction. Being emotionally uninvolved and distant from your workers or subordinate also doesn’t work best for your organisation or team. We do not enjoy working with such leaders so we must be determined not to be such leaders. Whether you are a class captain in school, head a 4-man team, own a small start-up or you lead 50 people in a multi-national, decide today to create a loving atmosphere for people under you to work and be productive and genuinely show care to them.
Which style do you think works better? The “Klopp-style” or the “Mourinho-style”.
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About The Author
“Tiwatayo Lasebikan (code name “Dr Lash”) is a medical doctor with training and experience in psychiatry, psychology and counselling. His goal is to help people lead emotionally and mentally healthier lives.
“In Your Mind” is where Dr Lash uses his experience to help people dealing with mental health and other emotional issues. Dr Lash has recognised that there’s a dearth of information on the importance of mental health and he shall use this medium to educate us about mental health issues and how our attitudes, behaviours and thinking affect our emotional well-being.
Dr Lash offers a range of online mental health and counselling services which include relationship counselling, self-esteem and confidence building, stress management, career and work-related counselling, critical events management amongst others. Dr Lash can be reached by email at email@example.com or via twitter @LashSupport.”