Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson retires from his job as trainer of one of if not the most successful soccer or football team in the world – Manchester United.

Alex Ferguson was an exception in the world of football – he coached his team for 26 years. If one compares this with Chelsea, a team with sometimes 2 new coaches in one season.

But of course, Ferguson was successful. Extremely successful and I congratulate him for this.

He has won 48 trophies as a manager, making him the most successful British football manager in history. The Scot has led the iconic club to a plethora of titles including 13 Premier Leagues, five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions League trophies. (Source)

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(Source of Picture)

To see his success replicated in graphics, just follow this link.

I don’t know if he ever attended a course on leadership, but there are lessons for leaders that will most likely be reiterated in any upcoming biography (and I am sure some are on its way already!).

Managing resistance

It is pretty clear to those that follow sport news that there was some tension between Wayne Rooney and Alex Ferguson. Sometime back, Rooney already wanted to leave and after conversations with Alex, he stayed. Now, since a couple of months, the discussion is back. And while Rooney was an extremely successful player for Manchester United, Ferguson didn’t hesitate to put him aside, when he didn’t deliver. Now, this also shows leadership strength, as it is important for any leader to track performance based on performance, and not on preference alone!

Attracting talents

Every successful leader is only successful when he is able to attract great people. Now, it is a chicken and egg situation. And most of the time, great talents only come when a company or, in this case, a team is successful and can promise or guarantee ongoing success. A good example is Robin Van Persie, who came from Arsenal in the beginning of the 2013 season. He says that “Robin Van Persie knew his decision to leave Arsenal and join Manchester United would reap immediate rewards after just one day training with his new team-mates.”

Setting Goals

He said he was anxious, way back in 2011, when he realised that they can overtake Liverpool’s tally of record league titles. And they did.

“It’s fantastic being the most successful team,” said Ferguson, whose side had only seven championships when he arrived in November, 1986. “As soon as that one [Ferguson’s first] in 1992, the door opened to us. It is an incredible achievement.”

He would “not have believed” overhauling Liverpool, he added. Ferguson admitted to some anxiety: “All those poor souls in the stands biting their nails and having a heart attack and I was one of them,” he said, grinning, while remaining pragmatic ahead of the away trip to Blackburn on Saturday, with Blackpool at Old Trafford a week later: “You have to do your job.”

This is important for leaders. No company can run when their leaders don’t have a goal in their mind. And Ferguson’s goal was always to be atop of the league. This was so also when Manchester City took over the crown for one season (2011/2012).

I believe, much more can be said about the leadership qualities of Sir Alex Ferguson and I look forward to some of your comments.

 

 

 

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