Thursday, 5 June 2014

The key to Leadership is having time on the ball

Any soccer fan will testify that a world class footballer in his pomp is a delight to behold. The likes of Pele, Ronaldo, Messi and David Beckham look as if they have all the time in the world to weigh up their next move, pass or shoot. They evaluate the field of play in an instant, consider their options and select from their fully honed repertoire precisely how they are going to optimise the impact of what they choose to do next. These people give confidence to the players around them, they create opportunities, they draw pressure away from others and they dictate how the game is going to be played. They are masters of their craft - they are in control. So what is it that that makes these players so special? One factor is that they have "time on the ball".

These principles also apply to leaders and to the organisations that they run. Inspirational leaders, too, have "time on the ball". They are able to take the pressure, give confidence to those around them, create opportunities for their team, and read and control the game. These are leadership qualities to which we should aspire.

Pele, Ronaldo, Messi, Beckham et al are not always in the thick of the action - often unseen, they work hard off the ball, never shirk the crucial tackle when it matters, but never forget that their true role is to run the game and create space for others.

Great leaders have time for people at every level of their organisation. Realising that their staff are the most valuable resource, they give of their time - they make people feel special and valued. They have "time on the ball". "Time on the ball" comes from a clear vision and a confidence in dealing with the challenge ahead.

But this does not just apply to leaders, it can apply to leadership teams, indeed to everyone in an organisation. Like the great Brazilian World Cup winning side of 1970, organisations, too, can have "time on the ball". "Time on the ball" allows the team to achieve reach its goal. Enjoy!

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