Following Manchester United’s qualification for the Champions League quarter-finals yesterday after a very good win against PSG of France, I cannot refrain myself from reflecting on the transformation of this famous football club over the past few months.
Ever since Ole Gunnar Solskjær (OLE) took over the job at Manchester United as caretaking manager on 19thDecember 2018 following the dismissal of the previous manager, there has been a significant improvement on and off the pitch. OLE is a former player of Manchester United and is a legend in the eyes of many supporters given his footballing prowess and achievement with the club during his time as a player.
Since taking over, contrary to team performance under the previous manager, results have improved remarkably, and the team can be seen to be highly engaged and motivated again. The team enhanced reaction points out to a change of direction, tactics, and can only be down to a good leadership. Of course, good leadership is not mainly defined by results but by how the leader interacts with the people he/she leads.
Reflecting on this transformation and looking objectively at the available information in the public domain, it is hard not to see that this is good leadership in action. Contrary to how the team often behaved under the previous manager, the team has been showing a positive attitude with enthusiasm during games, with high energy up and down the pitch and taking extraordinary initiative to win games.
OLE has shown good leadership traits. he is respectful of others, transparent. In addition, he keeps things simple and empowers his players and, of course that can be seen by how they have been behaving on the pitch so, the evidence is there for everyone to see. OLE is accountable, he gives credit and takes the blame, listens more than he talks contrary to the previous manager. Moreover, he doesn't criticise in public and is highly enthusiastic. He has got this team of player engaged and he is getting the best out of his players. His methods and style must be highly contagious.
Although OLE is a former player of Manchester United it can be argued that, that is not the reason why this positive transformation is happening because former players have overseen this club before and this level of motivation, commitment, engagement, passion for the game was not witnessed. So, there must be something in the running of the club under OLE that drives this group of players to give (150%) when they are on the pitch. That can only be described as good leadership.
Not being an insider to know exactly the leadership style used by OLE, it is certain considering recent team displays that players and technical staff are happy, supporters are happy, and everybody is happy. That is the result of a good leadership by this legend of the club who has created a highly engaged team and is inspiring the players, praising them, encouraging them to believe in their abilities, protecting them and leading effectively.