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Melanie Wombwell

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Is your management style premier league? part 1


Ten premiership managers, ten different management styles - but how would they perform running a UK business in today's current climate? Melanie Wombwell investigates.
Our analysis first considers the type of leadership profile each manager fulfils based on our public perception; this perception has been drawn from media reporting, anecdotal evidence and performance to date. Let's have a look…

Sir Alex Ferguson - Manchester United


In a television interview in November, Sir Alex Ferguson, the 69-year-old Glaswegian who has managed Manchester United Football Club for the past 24 years, said "What you have to understand is that the most important man at Manchester United is the manager."
He was reflecting on the bizarre week in mid-October that began with his star striker Wayne Rooney saying he wanted to leave the club and ended with Rooney signing a new five-year contract. In case there was any doubt who he was referring to, Ferguson added calmly: "I am the most important man at Manchester United – it has to be that way."
Ferguson has one overarching strategy: control. "If I lose control of these multimillionaires in the Manchester United dressing room, I'm dead," he has said, a theme he returned to in the aftermath of the recent Rooney incident. Asked why he never employed a sports psychologist alongside the various other experts at the club, he replied: "I do that myself."
"If [Sir Alex Ferguson] were to manage a UK business in this current climate, he'd probably not have six and a half years to play with if the business wasn't performing."
Ferguson is controlling and forceful by nature and expects loyalty at all times. He is very much seen as the father figure at Old Trafford. His management style is very autocratic, he prefers a high level of power over his team.
There is no doubt that Sir Alex Ferguson is a great manager and a great leader; his track record speaks for itself. However it did take six and a half years for Ferguson to win the first of his 11 league championships at Manchester United and he has admitted he was lucky his club believed in the vision he set out. If he were to manage a UK business in this current climate, he'd probably not have six and a half years to play with if the business wasn't performing. But one thing is for sure, he would make sure he had the full support of his team.

Carlo Ancelotti – Chelsea



Just before the Christmas period, and when Chelsea's next game was against Manchester United, Carlo Ancelotti was asked by journalists about uncertainty surrounding his own position. Just six months after he led the club to its first league and FA Cup double, there was already talk of him being replaced. If others were confused, Ancelotti was most definitely not. "You compare me with Ferguson," he told journalists at a press conference. "It's a different position. Ferguson has total control of his team. I have just technical direction. Full stop."
Ancelotti is firmly in the European tradition of a manager-coach, whose brief is to stick to footballing matters only. As a manager of a football club, Ancelotti provides an adequate degree of authority, yet often lets others around him lead the decision-making process. For example, Roman Abramovich makes all the business decisions. Ancelotti is just in charge of the team, often shadowing them and provding technical direction, then allowing them to make decisions on their own; none more so than captain, John Terry, who provides the voice for the team.
In the business world, Ancelotti would struggle. He is good at what he does, but he relies on good people around him that he can direct. In a small business, often you are required to step out of the shadows and lead by example.

Arsene Wenger - Arsenal



Although he sometimes lets the mask slip, particularly during the charged atmosphere of a North London derby with Spurs, Wenger is generally calm, serious and analytical. Without doubt, he has always enjoyed winning matches and silverware, but he freely admits to "feeling sick" when Arsenal are defeated.
Wenger took particular pride from Arsenal's Premier League and FA Cup double in 2001/2002, and the 2003/2004 season when Arsenal's 'invincibles' went through their entire fixture list of 49 games without losing a game.
Much of Wenger's success can be attributed to his management style and acute economic awareness. To avoid paying inflated fees and wages for players who are either peaking or past their best, he has instead opted to acquire and develop some of the best young players from around the world, in the hope they will realise their full potential.
Wenger continues his mission to shape Arsenal's long-term success even if at the expense of trophies in the short term. His calculated methods would work well in the commercial arena of running a UK business. And as we pull out of the recession, this is when a business managed by an Arsene Wenger would thrive and succeed. He has a team for the future.

Roberto Mancini – Manchester City



Roberto Mancini manages one of the wealthiest clubs in the world which includes some of the world's most talented players. Most of Roberto's players are on high salaries and are rewarded with high bonuses. However, unlike Mancini's character, City's season so far has been anything but smooth.
"Lies, all rubbish," Mancini was quoted as saying in an Italian newspaper recently in response to suggestions his players are revolting. It seems Mancini has spent most of this season's campaign variously wagging his finger at players, pulling them out of pubs and trying to stop them erupting. Carlos Tevez, who spoke to team-mates about leaving Eastlands over the summer and again before Christmas, and Emmanuel Adebayor, a regular malcontent who has just been moved to Real Madrid on loan, are just two of the lavishly-rewarded employees who Mancini has engaged in arm-wrestling.
"If Mancini were to be managing a UK business in today's current climate, he would need to look at changing his 'transactional' management methods away from using monetary rewards and get the best out of his team by adopting another style."
There is clear and credible first-hand evidence to show an ominous percentage of City players lining up against Mancini's methods: mainly the boot-camp ethos at their training ground and his high-handedness with non‑compliant stars. Some also accuse him of tactical negativity and many are unconvinced that Mancini is the best man to be spending Abu Dhabi's millions. Plenty of City fans now suspect the astronomical wages and bonuses are infantilising some of their squad members.
Of course money and rewards are a big factor for any employee. But even with great montary rewards, this doesn't always bring out the best in employees, or gain respect for the manager. If Mancini were to be managing a UK business in today's current climate, he would need to look at changing his 'transactional' management methods away from using monetary rewards and get the best out of his team by adopting another style.

Harry Redknapp – Tottenham Hotspur



Known as the people's manager, Harry is very much an inspirational character, working closely with all his players. He is not one for spending too much time on tactics, but has a great eye for a good player, inspiring them to reach decisions and do the right things.
A prime example of this is Harry's signing of Rafael Van der Vaart. Van der Vaart has quickly stamped himself as a goalscoring machine to be feared since his deadline-day move from Real Madrid to North London last summer. The 27-year-old Holland international has scored numerous times for Spurs already and, in a recent interview claimed Redknapp's more laid-back approach has got the best out of him.
By keeping things simple and recruiting good players, allowing them to play their natural game, Redknapp is showing his people management skills, and showcasing his 'co-achievement' approach. He doesn't want them worrying about the bigger tactical picture; instead he leaves them free to do what they enjoy.
While Harry's tactical astuteness is as good as any top Premier League boss, he picks a squad of players that can play the system well. He can identify ready-made players who will adapt to a successful way of playing football.
In the commercial world, people skills and having a close working relationship with your team can be a very powerful skill. A manager who inspires is a rare quality, and can really help drive a business forward, regardless of the economic climate.

Part 2 will be published tomorrow.

Melanie Wombwell is managing director of Results International. Results International works with companies and individuals to help them unlock their potential, enabling them to boost their performance in the workplace. This is done in a number of ways, be it through executive coaching, working with the top team, or delivering organisation-wide culture change programmes that build a passion for leadership, management and team success. Results International have worked with many well-known companies and organisations including the Home Office, Nationwide, Phones4u and Vodafone


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