A leader who is….Nice, Kind, Honest, Calm and Passionate.
These are all words that have been used to describe Gareth Southgate, a man who has drawn us into football, a man who has inspired his team and included the fans in the England World Cup journey. Sadly a place in the World Cup Final was not to be but in 4 short weeks Gareth Southgate has worked a miracle and brought us all together. He has given us a reason to feel proud to be English and with his young football team has showed the world the best of English values. The feel good factor that has spread through the country as a result of this quiet man’s leadership has been phenomenal. So how did he do it?
Well firstly I love that he believes in the youth. In the past England has been a team of players who were famous in their own right for their skills in their club teams, but who never managed to reproduce that skill when playing for England. They may have been big names but there was no team spirit. Gareth Southgate has taken young players and nurtured team spirit in bucket loads.
He has listened. Gareth Southgate gave everyone a voice. He has listened to his players, to the people behind the scenes and he has made every one of them feel included and valuable.
He has encouraged them to talk about how they feel. Research has shown how damaging it is to our health to bottle up our feelings and keep pushing forwards. Our emotions give us a message. They tell us whether we are enjoying life or if we need to change something. We now know that old parenting phrases such as ‘children should be seen and not heard’ or ‘little boys don’t cry’ are actually very damaging. We have come along way since I was a child and Gareth Southgate is reflecting that by trusting his team psychologist Pippa Grange and making time for his players to share their stories with each other.
He arranged team bonding activities. Can you imagine a manager from the past telling his team they were going to camp in the forrest for 3 days without their phones? No me neither, but this is just one of the activities that this England team have done. And the players felt the bond between them develop so much in these situations that they have continued to have a ‘no phone rule’ whenever they eat together. May be you could use this fact when you are trying to make your kids do the same? These bonding activities not only prepared the players for facing difficult situations on the pitch where they needed to trust and support each other to get through, but they also created time when the players had fun together.
He is honest. We have seen his honesty in interviews with the media. When talking about the way the draw has fallen he admitted quite openly ” We may not get another chance like this” And he answers the question that is being asked. How refreshing is that? He has also encouraged his players to be equally honest in interviews which means we have got to know them better.
I could go on singing this quiet man’s praises. As someone who all my life has been told that nice people don’t get anywhere and so I needed to toughen up, it is an absolute joy to see a nice man leading from the front. And all these skills that Gareth Southgate has demonstrated so well can be added as tools in your Parenting Tool Kit
- Believe in your children
- Make time to listen to them
- Encourage them to talk about how they feel
- Schedule family time to do activities together
- Have fun together.
- Have technology free time together
- Be honest with them
- Lead by example
And finally Stay Calm. As an ex teacher, who has stood in many a noisy class room, I learned very early on that adding to that noise by shouting was counter productive. For me, the way to lower the noise in a class room was to stand calmly at the front of the class and allow my presence, my calm energy, to fill the room and ‘tell’ the children that I expected the same of them. In this way they stopped their chatting and focused on me without me having to shout. It looks like magic but it is simply about communicating using energy instead of words but that is probably a blog for another day.