To mark this World Cup and to get in there before England fly back, I thought I would discuss leadership issues using this tournament as a focal point. The one thing the England are doing this time around that is markedly different from previous World Cups is that they are taking a psychologist with them. This gives me hope that FA management recognise that it as much about what happens between the ears as between the white lines of the pitch.
Manchester United have long known that they only have to look at the body language of opponents in the tunnel before a match to know that they will win. This is because they can tell just from looking into their eyes whether their opponents have any belief.
The winners of this World Cup will be the ones who have the greatest belief. They will be the ones who have prepared their minds to know that will win. The winners will have to go deep into the minds of players and create a compelling outcome. They will do this in the following ways:
Set a Compelling Goal and Dig Deep This should be as specific as possible, using qualitative and quantative measures to know when success has been achieved. In a team game such as football, getting agreement to this compelling goal is not easy. The reason for this is that people will “go with the flow” and agree to the louder voices in the team, or go with whatever the boss says. Leadership will have to dig a bit deeper to get everyone onboard with the goal.
Visualise Deeply Already Having Succeeded Our imaginations are very powerful weapons to give us the motivation and energy required for success. The key here is to imagine winning the world cup, for example, using a full sensory input asking these questions:
How does it feel to be a world cup winner?
What are the expressions of joy? How does that feel?
What are we going to do once we have won the world cup?
What does it sound like? What will we say? What will others say?
What it looks like. What are the colours and brightness of the image?
Dig Deeper By Repetition They will continue to reinforce the images and feeling generated by these exercises over and over, so that it becomes part of their identity. Being winners will be who they are, not just an aspiration. This requires dedication and hard work. Above all this should not be a chore. This should be a positive and empowering part of the training to release energy and motivation.
Have Your Best Week Ever
Mervyn Murray is an international leadership development expert and keynote speaker