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With the country on a high following England's Euro 2020 semi-final win over Denmark, and excitement rising ahead of the final on Sunday, Karen Meager and John McLachlan look at England manager Gareth Southgate's leadership style and why it is proving successful both on and off the pitch.
Gareth Southgate is winning plaudits for his leadership style. And this time, it’s taken England all the way to the final of Euro 2020.
[pullquote]He’s done things his way throughout the tournament. There’s no ego in that dressing room, he’ll make the decisions that need to be made for that team to be successful, and he puts the team first. The players recognise that his decisions are the right ones for the team" – Gary Neville[/pullquote]
While his famous waistcoat from the World Cup 2018 – where England made it to the semi-final – has been dropped, there’s been no change in the effectiveness of Southgate’s leadership, both off and on the pitch. Regardless of whether England goes all the way in Euro 2020, Southgate has re-established the England team as world-class achievers.
You don’t do that in consecutive tournaments without an approach to leadership that’s clearly working. So, what is he doing off the pitch that’s making such a difference on it? And what can leaders within organisations learn from his transformational style?
Confidence in his approach
In football, despite ‘expert’ opinions everywhere, there is only one manager who has to make the decisions. Every game is scrutinised and feedback offered by pundits, fans and the media is often negative. The continued selection of Harry Kane in Euro 2020 is a perfect example: considered to have lost his form prior to the tournament, many said he had misfired in the early matches but Southgate stuck by his captain. When the second goal went in against Germany from Kane, with two more against Ukraine, the doubters were silenced.
Speaking after last night’s win against Denmark, Gary Neville said that not only is Southgate confident in his decision making, so are the team. “He’s done things his way throughout the tournament. There’s no ego in that dressing room, he’ll make the decisions that need to be made for that team to be successful, and he puts the team first. The players recognise that his decisions are the right ones for the team.”