Gareth Southgate – A Lesson in Leadership

In a week that has seen Theresa May’s leadership come under increasing scrutiny, Gareth Southgate has stood out as 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.


The secret to inspiring trust in others:

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

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 into greater detail to see exactly how Gareth Southgate achieves this:


1. 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.


2. 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 – practice that stood them in good stead in their match against Columbia. He understands that preparation is crucial to success and emphasises the importance of sticking to your game plan.


3. Putting yourself in other people’s shoes

Southgate has high levels of empathy as shown at the end of the England vs. Columbia match when he took the time to console the Columbian player Mateus Uribe who missed his penalty. This display of sportsmanship is all the more moving because Southgate knows only too well how the Columbian was feeling having missed his own penalty against Germany in Euro 1996. The ability to understand what makes other people tick lies at the heart of what it takes to be a strong leader.


4. 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. He also practices what he preaches, as shown when he took over from Sam Allerdyce and pledged to ditch the egos. 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, donning a lucky waistcoat and 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!

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