Top 4 Leadership Lessons from the World of Football

lessons football feature image

If you are one of the 3.5 billion football fans worldwide, then you are going to enjoy this article. Even if you’re not – world’s most popular ball game is profoundly allured all over the world.

And whether you take football seriously or keep up with it casually, there are great leaders in the industry we can learn from. In this article, we discuss and highlight to you the top 4 lessons we can all learn and adopt into our professional career:

1. Be Prepared to Embrace Challenges

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.” – David Beckham

The football game is a gamble and prominent challenges engulfed it. Whether you are a player on the pitch or a coach, there will always be challenges. The study of leadership actively seeks to disturb the status quo and awaken new possibilities. The reality is that the majority of footballers we see today once used to play on the street under the anonymity and hardship. They only managed to emerge as superstars in the public’s eyes because they have challenged themselves and persevered to take risks, learn from challenges, and constantly improve.


2. Persevere – Success Does Not Come Overnight

“I start early and I stay late, day after day, year after year. It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.” – Lionel Messi

Most people want to be successful overnight and this encourages instant gratification, making us impatient. This will lead to us wanting to take shortcuts to achieve results, but this can often have devastating effects on our long-term performance and judgement.

In the world of football, both physical and mental resilience are equally important. It takes personal commitment, discipline, and consistent training to achieve great results and become a good sportsman. Following the dream en-route, what’s more important than having the raw talent is to have the compatible effort, grit, and the perseverance to get succeed in your work and career.


3. Failures are Temporary

“True champions aren’t always the ones that win, but those with the most guts.” – Mia Hamm

If there is anything distinctive about today’s successful footballers, it would be their moments of failure. Mohamad Salah and Kevin De Bruyne, who had both been benched for most of their time at Chelsea Football Club, have now risen up in different clubs as one of the top superstars in their league. This indicates that sometimes we are simply going through a temporary “low”, which we often classify it as failure. It is imperative for both entrepreneurs and working professionals to learn how to bounce back from our “lows” and grow stronger to take on more challenges.

Instead of running away from our failures we experience, take the time to reflect upon the situation and look at things objectively. With this attitude, you will be more confident to start taking calculated risks and embark on new ventures and recover from your “lows”.

Failure indeed is one of life’s greatest enablers and it is a wake-up call for the next opportunity. In the end, it’s what you do with failure that defines your character as a leader.


4. Leadership is a Relationship

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

Wearing the captain armband is both a challenging and rewarding role for a player. Given that a football game is very much based on teamwork, it is the captain’s responsibility to deal with each of their team members and communicate effectively with the manager, team, and referee. Team leaders are usually assigned based on their influences on team players both on and off the field.

Leadership can be seen as a relationship between those who are chosen to lead and those who choose to follow. Often times it is the quality of that relationship that determines the quality of the overall team play, and subsequently the outcome of the match. A leader must be devoted to inspiring confidence in their followers, evaluate team performance, and be ready to make changes to the circumstances to foster better relationship.


Related: 4 Skills That Elevate Your Employability and Early Career – Gain the Competitive Edge


Written by: Wai Yan Oo

Wai Yan is a Content Analyst at ProspectsASEAN and a digital ambassador of FOXSportsASIA. He is also the ambassador of Uyolo, a social network for human rights, promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals based in Paris and Milan and the Local Comittee Team Leader of Incoming Exchange Development at AIESEC in Yangon. He’s currently pursuing Mechanical Engineering at TTU and the former delegate of 2017 GKS for ASEAN Science and Engineering Students in South Korea.

Feature Image is CC0 Licensed: Free for Commercial Use, No Attribution Needed


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