Was Sven Goran Eriksson the man of the match at last week’s CIPD conference
in Harrogate, or should he get the red card?
Eriksson: man of the match
By Ross Wigham
Football coach Sven Goran Eriksson has revealed the secrets of his famed
management skills, which have helped England qualify for next year’s European Championships.
The most famous Swede since Abba delivered his thoughts on leadership,
team-building, pressure and talent management during a riveting discussion with
business guru Rene Carayol.
In a fascinating insight into the mind of a football genius, Eriksson told
delegates how he jumped at the chance to become England boss, and thrives on
the pressure the role brings.
Eriksson said team spirit was crucial in any high-performance team, and that
the way to build it was through openness, honesty and discussion.
"It is very important to explain exactly what you want people to do and
to make sure they understand it," he said.
"I also like to take ideas from the players, and I’m always happy to
take up a discussion. Respect is a great quality, and I think you should show
it during the professional life. You have to explain and motivate," he
He said people skills were crucial to his role, and revealed how he called
all the players who did not make the 2002 World Cup squad, and addressed the
whole team following the defeat to Brazil in Japan.
On the current hot topic of stress, he said that a certain level of pressure
was healthy, helping teams to achieve their goals.
"It’s much better to have a team under a bit of pressure; it helps
drive people to want to win," he said.
On his ice-cool image, he revealed he is not always as calm as the media
makes out. He said the key to being a good manager was to be true to yourself.
Eriksson: just a good dribbler
By Jane King
Sven Goran Eriksson may have brought a touch of glamour to the CIPD
conference, but not much insight into what business can learn from his success
The England coach, interviewed by business guru Rene Carayol, struggled to
make any profound analogies between sport and the corporate game. When asked by
an HR manager what leadership qualities had prompted him to select David
Beckham as the England team captain, he said: "Well, he was the most
famous footballer in the world."
The CIPD is rumoured to have paid at least £15,000 for Sven’s bland, less
than stimulating contribution. It appeared he had done no preparation –
particularly in thinking about what it takes to build winning teams and what
the audience might find useful.
While it may have been mildly fascinating to football fans, this session was
a turn-off for many delegates who were eager to hear something new from a man
projected by the media as one of our ‘coolest’ leaders.
Eriksson summed up the whole thing himself when he explained how he copes as
a leader under pressure: "I talk low, talk slow and don’t say much".