Blog — Leadership Commentary

Inspirational Motivation: What Leicester City and Claudio Ranieri Can Teach Us About Leadership

Matthew Moore
Matthew Moore
Marketing and Digital Production Manager
Inspirational Motivation: What Leicester City and Claudio Ranieri Can Teach Us About Leadership
We often hear tales of a dynamic leader going into an organisation and changing everything to achieve success. But what happens when, as is much more often the case, the leader has to work with what is already there? Well, in Claudio Ranieri and Leicester City’s case, they win the Premier League.

Much has been written following the phenomenal achievement of unfancied, unfashionable Leicester City in winning the Premier League title this season. Inevitably focus has been on synergy. How “ Leicester City football club is more than the sum of their parts”. Factors such as building trust, shared respect, mutual understanding and a fundamental confidence in ones’ own and team mates’ ability when pulled together, allows you to beat any other team without that same level of cohesion. I once heard Shane Warne describe the Australian cricket team of the early 2000s as a “champion team, not a team of champions”. That’s very much the case with Leicester.

However, one factor given significantly fewer column inches really resonates, relating to what Claudio Ranieri had to deal with when he took over the Manager’s role – and it’s a reality for the majority of business leaders when they take over an existing business. Often you hear stories of a team success, particularly in sport, which proclaim how the leader brought in their own people, instilled a different culture, got rid of those that didn’t fit, rebuilt the team in their own image and created a successful unit. Ranieri on the other hand inherited a team he had to work with. In this, he was faced with the same challenge as many in the commercial world.

In business, a leader is promoted into a new role and is held accountable for that organisations’ performance pretty much immediately. Certainly, when the first quarter numbers are being reviewed, a positive change in results is expected. Little time, budget or grace is offered in order to rebuild, restructure and start from scratch. So the skill for a successful leader in those circumstances is to improve performance with whatever he or she has got.

It is true to say that Ranieri inherited a team that may well have turned a corner, but they were still seen as a 5000-1 shot to win the title and favourites to be relegated. With exactly the same people – because he had no other choice – his great success was to use what he had to not only consolidate, but vastly improve upon previous performance. To do this, he prioritised building a culture of trust, both in each other and in him, and diligently stuck to that formula for the duration of the campaign in order to get the victory that he needed. As ex-military, I can see how he, perhaps inadvertently, applied some of the principles of war. “Concentration of force”, “simplicity” and the “maintenance of morale”.

For Ranieri, now is the time to look again at the team’s structure. It will be very difficult to replicate that performance even with the same personnel he has now. He is faced with the inevitable challenge, as again many business leaders face, where individuals will get promoted, will leave, will fail to produce the same form and that will affect the collective performance of Leicester City. It will be fascinating to see whether he’s able to keep the team together, get the same performance or whether he has to do what perhaps what he wanted to do at the start, and that is to rebuild a team that he really wants.

Related articles

How to become the leader you want to be

5 mins

blog, leadership-development

How to become the leader you want to be

How did you choose your leadership persona? Or did it perhaps chose you? Many managers […]

Read More
Seven Annoying Phrases in Modern Business Use That Must Be Stopped… Now!

2 mins

blog, leadership-commentary

Seven Annoying Phrases in Modern Business Use That Must Be Stopped… Now!

Thinking outside the box While I appreciate the sentiment and applaud the idea of creative […]

Read More
What is Allyship and why is it so important?

3 mins

blog, diversity-inclusion

What is Allyship and why is it so important?

One of the big challenges to an effective Diversity and Inclusion programme is that the […]

Read More
4 ways you can increase your job security post-pandemic

3 mins

blog

4 ways you can increase your job security post-pandemic

Following a tumultuous couple of years, many leaders & managers – and those with aspirations […]

Read More
  • IDG UK

    Royal Berkshire Hotel
    London Road
    Ascot
    SL5 0PP
    UK
    +44 (0) 207 798 2848

  • IDG India

    Tower 2, Montreal Business Center
    Baner Road
    Pune
    411045
    India
    +91 955 271 5800

  • IDG Oman

    PO Box 1982, P.C. 111
    Maktabi 1 Building,
    Al Khuwair
    Muscat
    The Sultanate of Oman
    +968 90189859

  • IDG UAE, KSA, Bahrain, Kuwait & Iraq

    5th Floor
    One JLT
    Dubai
    UAE
    +971 56896 4262
    +971 50550 8482

  • IDG South Africa

    Teneo House
    Central Park
    Esplanade Road
    Century City,
    Cape Town, ZA
    +27 (0) 21 492 7300

Get in touch

There are many ways to contact us. Select an option below to get started.