As Gareth Southgate encourages his team to show no fear ahead of tonight’s Euro 2020 semi-final, he has proven himself to be an inspirational leader who understands that the secret to building a high performance team is trust.  Trust lies at the heart of Southgate’s relationship with his players; they trust him to make the right calls and he, in return, actively encourages them to take responsibility for their actions.  The great news is that by following his example and drawing on your emotional intelligence, you too can learn how to inspire trust in others. 


How to build trust:

Great leaders understand that trust is earned not given. The key to building trust lies in the following equation:  


                               SELF INTEREST

In other words, to earn trust you need to be credible, reliable and empathetic whist bearing in mind the needs of the other party. Let’s now break this down to show exactly how Gareth Southgate achieves this: 


Having relevant experience and expertise 

As someone who has played for his country 57 times, Southgate commands respect from his team. He understands what is going on in the players’ heads and the particular challenges they face. It’s therefore not surprising that the team believe in him and his ability to help them raise their game.  


Delivering on your promises 

Southgate adopts a disciplined and systematic approach to coaching that delivers real results. This is shown by the way he has helped the England team practise penalties, “We created a (penalty) process that works for us. We think the players understand that and we’ll be well prepared if it comes to that moment.”  He recognises that preparation is crucial to success and emphasises the importance of sticking to your game plan. 


Putting yourself in other people’s shoes 

Southgate has high levels of empathy as shown when he said, “I like listening to people who know things that I don’t… that’s how you learn.” The ability to understand what makes other people tick lies at the heart of what it takes to be a strong leader. 


Minimising your personal agenda 

Southgate has won admirers on and off the pitch for his cool, calm and collected manner. He harnesses his self-control – another key EQ skill – to help his team achieve the extraordinary. A great example of this is the way he refuses to draw parallels with his missed penalty in the 1996 Euro semi-final and instead focuses on the wellbeing of his players and their ability to make history.  It’s therefore not surprising that this England team share his sense of humility and work ethic. This ability to limit your self-interest and put the needs of your team above all else is what makes Southgate a truly inspirational leader. 


So as you sit on the edge of your seat tonight, singing football’s coming home, take a moment to be inspired by Southgate’s emotionally intelligent leadership style.  Win or lose, we have an England Manager and team to be proud of!