Who’s the odd one out: (a) Fabio Capello; (b) Christopher “Dudas” Coke; or (c) Barry Jackson? The obvious answer is “c” because “a” and “b” are famous names while, a few spotty teenage boys circa 1979 excepted, nobody’s heard of the third man.

The actual answer is the England manager because he’s yet to prove his leadership credentials while the other two have already demonstrated their abilities to be inspirational leaders. The Jamaican drugs overlord because his followers were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for their leader – 70 laid down their lives in what today has turned out to be a hopeless effort to prevent his arrest. My old physics teacher because he inspired me to get a top grade A level in a subject that before he stirred me into action I’d approached with the sort of vigour displayed by molecules approaching absolute zero (that’s -273 Celsius by the way and, therefore, very cold indeed). Capello by comparison has inspired nothing more than two lacklustre performances from the England World Cup football squad but here’s hoping that six hours after writing this he’ll join the ranks of Coke and Jackson.

So how is it that good leaders like Coke and Jackson (sounds like a new range of caffeinated toothpaste) manage to extract such loyalty or performance from their followers? Leaders have many qualities. One of the critical qualities is the ability to motivate. But motivation comes from within an individual. It can’t be imposed from the outside. In essence we are motivated to do things because of what happens after we do whatever it is we’re being asked to do. We may not even like what we have to do but doing it delivers the reward we desire or the punishment we seek to avoid. The knack then is to know what motivates your team and to communicate to them how the performance you desire as team leader will deliver what they desire in terms of benefits or disbenefits.

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it.”
Dwight Eisenhower

Money motivates many people. Not because of the money itself but because of what we can do with it. But clearly money matters much less to footballers who are already multi millionaires and earn more in a week than most of us will ever earn in a year or even a lifetime. By contrast no amount of money would motivate me to lay down my life legitimately for Queen and Country or illegitimately for a morally bankrupt drug dealer.

Capello’s job should be to find out what each of his team desires (and everyone may desire something different) and then communicate to them both individually and collectively how those desires can be fulfilled by success on the pitch. Then the likes of Gerrard, Lampard and Flashard (I made that last name up) may not be fighting for their very lives but they will be playing for rewards ultimately greater than 90 minutes of blood, sweat and tears on the playing fields of South Africa.

Are you a Capello? Want to be Jackson? Find out what he said to stir me to action? Come along to our leadership and supervisory skills workshops. Find out more at http://www.acmtraining.co.uk

PS Where are you now Mr Jackson? You’d be proud of me. I can still quote Keppler’s Laws of planetary motion in my sleep (though until today it hasn’t been a fat lot of use)!

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