After being dumped out of the last European Championships by Iceland in 2016, England will be hoping to improve their performance this time around and build on their success from the World Cup three years ago. With Wales and Scotland also part of the delayed Euros, it’s a time for people across Great Britain to come together and support their national team.
It’s been a long wait for all fans of national teams competing, with delays due to COVID meaning the competition was pushed back by a year. While I’ll be rooting for success for Gareth Southgate’s team, I know that winning the competition will not be solely dependent on the team’s ability to play football ‘ it will also require grit, determination and astute leadership from the manager of the winning nation.
The same combination of skills is needed for business growth, and there are many lessons businesses can learn from any international team that goes on to achieve success on the biggest stage.
Trusting youth and rejuvenating your team
Choosing your final squad of players for a tournament is not an easy task. Someone will always be disappointed or get injured along the way, and fans and pundits will start debating their preferred starting line-up months before a ball is kicked.
Southgate, like the most successful business leaders, isn’t afraid to make difficult decisions. Only six players remain from England’s last squad at the European Championships, while Southgate cut thirteen players from the group, he selected in the World Cup just three years ago.
In place of experienced players, we have fresh, exciting young talent like Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Mason Mount ‘ who was instrumental in leading my team Chelsea to the Champions League win this season.
As all good employers and recruiters know, you need to keep your people motivated and engaged. Focussing and trusting young members of the team can create challenging situations for these inexperienced staff but will help in speeding up their development. Bringing in new talent helps keep existing talent focused on the job at hand, while also offering new ideas to the team.
The importance of fully supporting your team
A younger team will require more support and guidance than an experienced group. And this is an area where I feel some England fans have let our team down.
The booing of players taking the knee during warm-up games was the exact opposite of what this young team needs, and while there were more cheers than boos against Croatia, the mere threat of boos was enough to distract us all from what was a professional 1-0 victory.
The booing of the England team creates a similar negative atmosphere as when businesses don’t fully support their staff. Employees want to know that their bosses value their work and input into the company, and if they feel that their contributions are being ignored or ‘ even worse ‘ criticised then they will not be focussed and will potentially look to move to a different company. It’s as simple as that!
How managers guide through challenging periods
However, it is not just down to the fans to support their national team this summer.
Football managers will be instrumental to their team’s success, and they’ll have to draw on management skills to lead the team through any challenging periods. This is an ability all business leaders require, and, unfortunately, it’s a skill we’ve all had to draw on over the past year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all our lives, but the economy is recovering far quicker than expected. Last month was reed.co.uk’s best for job postings since 2008, and it’s hard to underestimate how important the flexibility and ingenuity of British businesses have been to this growth.
The Euros is a great celebration for all across Europe, and one that business leaders can learn a huge amount from. The manager and team that delivers a strong work ethic, ingenious ideas and high morale across the month-long competition will win. If Gareth Southgate can summon the essence of this, then, dare I say it, it may finally be coming home this summer.