Forget losing a world cup semi-final. Remember the emergence of a new leadership role model in Gareth Southgate. Forget the beautiful game. Remember the beautiful man. Remember Brand Gareth. For in these times when we desperately need leadership that relies upon the power of trust, rather than leadership that trusts in power, who should step forward but….. a leader who relies upon the power of trust! Let us examine Brand Gareth against the nine habits of trust.
First, he delivered (habit no.1). Delivery is the passport to the rest of the game. If Gareth Southgate had not got England to a world cup semi-final, I could not talk about him now as a new leadership role-model. The first rule is you must deliver to inspire trust. Second, he coached (habit no.2). He took a young team of innocent babes and brought out of them a potential that none had previously envisaged. That is great coaching. Third, he was consistent. Maybe breaking the penalty-taking hoodoo was the ultimate example of a consistency habit honed from practise, practise, practise.
Moving on to the three habits of integrity. Gareth Southgate may be a nice guy, yet he was also ruthlessly honest to pick players who were fit, in form and willing to fit in with the team system (habit no.4). He, and his support team, encouraged an openness with the media (habit no.5) that transformed the trust between those two former adversaries and created an opportunity for the country to re-connect with its national game. Most of all, in this age of the buffoon and the braggart (mentioning no names!), Gareth Southgate does not ‘big up’ Brand Gareth. His disarming modesty has won new friends in the strangest of places.
Finally, our three habits of benevolence. Does Brand Gareth spread the good news? Is he a great evangelist (habit no.7)? There is no pomp and grandiosity, but in his own deliberate, calm manner we can sense a man on a mission. And when those fists started pumping at the end of the games we saw a glimpse of the burning passion that lies underneath. More of that please, Gareth! The bravery of leaders who inspire trust is moral bravery and it is here where I would like to pick out one moment that captured the heart of our nation. The moment where Gareth Southgate nailed being morally brave and being kind in one marvelous gesture (habits no.8 and no.9). Yes, you guessed it, the moment when, in alarming public glare, he put his arm around and consoled Mateus Uribe, the Colombian player who had missed the game-losing penalty. Embracing the anti-football enemy in the moment of victory. Wow! It was then we thought that maybe, just maybe, Brand Gareth was the real deal.
So thank you, Gareth Southgate. Thank you that, in the midst of a raging trust crisis, you have given many in this country hope. Hope that we might one day win a football trophy, but also a bigger hope that right now, today, we have been shown a model of leadership that relies on the power of trust. Leadership that has trust at its core. In these divided times, what a relief to have this unifying example. I often say that when the room gets darker, it is an opportunity for your own light to shine brighter. Boy, did your light shine, Gareth! Well done you. May your example inspire other leaders to put trust at the heart of all that they do and so create a vision of leadership of which we can all be proud.
P.S. Not sure about the waistcoat though 😉
For more information on the Trusted Executive Foundation please refer to this short introductory video.
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