Leading

I'm currently reading Alex Ferguson's book, where he summarizes his entire managerial career from small Scottish clubs to the famed Manchester United, and draws from it leadership lessons. This books is remarkable for its insights into the nuances of how Alex led, with exact footballing examples.

Some of the lessons I've picked up pertain to how Alex led and some to what he looked for in high performing teams:

  • Observing and listening are the two most important things for a manager
  • Work rate was extremely key for his teams
  • Take calculated risks- throw the kitchen sink AT the end. But preparation beats risks
  • As a manager, build a long-term club, not a season
  • Build a club where ppl will send their youngsters, because that's how you build a long-term base
  • One of his key players, Eric Cantona, rewarded two players because "they had balls". Courage and bravery rewarded
  • He was always aware of how to put together Alex Ferguson's team, not any other's teams
  • Alex hired leaders based on: desire to lead, trust to convey desires, others would respect, someone who could adapt to changing situations
  • To Alex, leading without character is impossible
  • Always thinking what's next. Never really celebrating because that's the past
  • Communicate about team principles over and over - even when repetitive

    Another thing about Alex is that he was extremely clear what winning meant, and passionate about finding a plan to get there.

    Here's also a fantastic interview with him at London Business School.