Leicester Fc: Defining Leadership | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Leicester Fc: Defining Leadership

Posted: May 10, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ogaziechi Nnedi
Beyond the ecstasy spectators and television viewers experience watching their favourite teams score and/or win at football matches, the success of Leicester Football Club as Champions of the English Premier League (EPL) for 2015/2016 season has opened new vistas not only in the game of football but literarily in all spheres of life.
In early March, geology students at the University of Leicester announced to the world that the success of Leicester FC was literarily sending shockwaves through the city after they discovered that their earthquake-monitoring equipment was measuring small earthquakes produced by sudden energy release by elated fans whenever their team scored a goal at home matches.
Leicester City is a city of less than 400,000 people according to a 2011 census. The King Power stadium that hosts the club’s matches has a capacity for 32, 262 spectators. So if this supposedly minute number of people can literarily move the earth at their football-induced ecstatic best, then the world must take note and ask salient questions.
For a club that faced relegation , with a meagre budget and a Claudio Ranieri with a very undulating coaching history, the odds against their ever winning the English Premier League was a rare 5000 to 1.
However, manager Ranieri, who the fans enthusiastically nicknamed ‘The Godfather’ as he lifted the coveted trophy, recently, has shown the world what leadership truly means. He has shown that humility, perseverance, commitment, compassion, prudence and inclusiveness are keys to the success of any leader at any level.
A Ranieri has shown the world that success in leadership is not about financial capacity, it is not about looking back at the failures of the past or blaming predecessors (seeing that the club had not won the premiership in its more than100 year history). His seamless enlistment of the absolute support of the Thai owners, the management, the players and the fans is phenomenal and is a pure lesson in leadership.
It is amazing that all his players served with absolute commitment and dedication, even when their total salaries could be paid by just a single player in one of the top teams in the EPL.
As a global event, the rare feat of a manager Ranieri and his admirable team should be a lesson in leadership to our governments at all level on a bi-partisan basis.
The people of Leicester are not bordered that the club is owned by some Asian investors. Their historic manager is an Italian. Their team is almost a rainbow coalition of Africans, Asians and Europeans; and the players are not the known superstars of the round leather game in the EPL.
The import of all of these should not be lost on anyone. The message is huge and illuminating on the audacity of hope, the altruism, prudence, a leadership that thinks, sticking to merit and rare sagacity in human management.
Beyond football, I found in Leicester FC exploits a remarkable talking point as to the gains of having the right leadership driving a process. Make no mistakes about it, the energy that propels success, be it in football, corporate organisation or governance, share a common decimal – ambition, vision and positive thinking.
From the beginning of the season until the moment the club was crowned the king of EPL, it was obvious that their activities were target-driven and they planned and worked to succeed. ***These were the same sentiments that drove the economic successes of the Asian Tigers which we all celebrate under the guidance of thinking leaders.***
One needs not seek too far to underscore the fact that one cannot make omelette without breaking an egg, neither can an organisation or country make remarkable strides when the leadership is bereft of a sense of inclusion, team play and willingness to creatively engage the challenges without settling for witch hunt or blame game.
It is a good virtue to dream big, think big and aim big; but all these amount to wishful thinking when the right bolts and nuts are not in place. The manager was focused and never allowed himself to be distracted, he was committed to a cause and was willing to challenge his players to aim high, and he knew that making history demands a working spirit of business unusual. All these and more paved the path to stardom to a little known Leicester FC.
The reflections on Leicester’ FC’s historical achievements is a confirmation of the possibilities in courage, commitment, resilience and good leadership that engenders public support, nationalism and buy in.
The metaphor which Leicester FC success presents should not be lost on governments and people that give in to self-doubt and pessimism. Leadership demands walking the talk and leading by example, and realising that the people would always support a leader that shows a pure sense of dedication and altruism. In almost all media interviews, a Ranieri would always give credit to the supporters and players. So why on earth would their happiness not cause some ‘pleasant’ earthquake as they cheer on their dedicated team? Just why not?