All eyes have been on the 2022 FIFA World Cup in recent weeks, putting its host, Qatar, in the global spotlight.
Although the event has generated more non-football-related coverage than any other World Cup in living memory – with issues ranging from booze bans to the controversial choice of host location – the event has also provided many a lesson in good management.
While football-team management techniques may not appear at first glance to tally with running knowledge-economy workplaces, the sport makes for a fast-paced and highly competitive work environment. If you’re looking to learn great management techniques under similar stresses, you don’t have to look any further.
Win or lose, football teams’ managers and coaches demonstrate management techniques that we can study.
Lesson #1: Understand your purpose, and focus on it
Every football team participating in the World Cup has a clear sense of purpose – that is, to win. Talking political points is secondary to the goal of winning, and the manager has to keep their team focused on this very purpose. Likewise, managers in the workplace will need to concentrate on successfully accomplishing the goals that they are tasked with, entertaining no distractions and helping their team focus on the same.
Lesson #2: Engage your team
Engaging with your employees as a single team can help enforce a strong bond among them. It is in your team’s best interest for you to show them unwavering support, encouraging them to do well and only baring your fangs when speaking softly does not cut it in instilling discipline. Empathising with your team is a must here, but you should also learn to be ruthless whenever necessary.
Lesson #3: Learn from mistakes – yours and your opponent’s
Every football game is a battle of wit and skill. While each team may have a solid strategy, it is inevitable that individual players will make mistakes in the heat of the moment. While such errors may cost crucial goals or possession of the ball, these are actually opportunities for learning. Analysing your blunders and observing that of your competitors is an excellent way to shape future strategies and get your team on top of the metaphorical heap.
Lesson #4: Obsess over data
This is a time when data means everything, even in football. The World Cup’s best team managers always take time to watch post-game videos to analyse their own game and that of their opponents. Doing so generates data for them to crunch and use to formulate strategies that will counter their opponent’s best players and ultimately help their team make those precious goals.
Lesson #5: Put the team first, but acknowledge good performance
The World Cup has never been short on star power, but winning managers know that it is always the whole team that matters. They do not sideline the rest of their team in favour of the popular faces, but they also don’t neglect to give due credit to top performers.