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Melanie Wombwell

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Is your management style premier league? part 2


Ten premiership managers, ten different management styles. Melanie Wombwell continues her assessment.

Roy Hodgson – Formerly at Liverpool


Hodgson has earned the nickname 'the nicest man in football.' He doesn't like indiscipline on the field which was reflected in Fulham (a previous club of his) ranking third in the Fair Play league table at the end of last season. He is extremely composed and seldomly loses his temper in the dressing room. He deliberates with his team members and uses their contributions to makes decisions.

He stands by his players, trusting them to play through their bad spells. This has earned him popularity with the ones he trusts, but annoyed those who are on the sidelines. Dressing room unrest was said to have been one of the key factors in his failures at Udinese and Blackburn where players who weren't in his starting 11 instigated a campaign for him to get sacked.

At Liverpool, Hodgson always involved his players when making decisions, especially Anfield favourites Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. With Hodgson, it's very much a combined effort between managers and players. However, this may have been his downfall at Liverpool when they both parted company recently after 'mutual' agreement. Gerrard, Carragher, and even star striker Fernando Torres (who has now left Liverpool for London rivals Chelsea) have all not had good seasons so far, compared to their usual high standards, and as always, this is reflected back at the manager.
"Managing a business by working together with your team members can be very rewarding, but if it's not working, then those team members have no leader to turn to for answers."

In football, as in business, sometimes the nice guy doesn't always win. Managing a business by working together with your team members can be very rewarding, but if it's not working, then those team members have no leader to turn to for answers.

David Moyes – Everton


High – flex

David Moyes quite often likens his own management style to a jockey, whip in hand, cajoling his team over the finishing line. In a recent interview he was quoted as saying... "I'm still trying to survive. Your job as a football manager is never secure."

Yet pound-for-pound, Moyes has been just as successful at the more financially-challenged Everton, getting them to punch above their weight most seasons, twice finishing in the top four. This March will see his ninth anniversary at Goodison, a feat achieved by only three of the other 91 club managers in England - Ferguson, Wenger and John Coleman of Accrington Stanley.

Everton have a good squad of 'utility' players who can play in various positions. David often changes his team and formation around with the opposition in mind and also to get the best out of his players.

In today,s business climate David's style would work well. He is used to not having much money to spend on building the team, he can't go out and buy 'big-hitters.' His skill lies in getting the best out of what he's got and changing his style to suit the circumstances or needs at the appropriate time.

Sam Allardyce – Formerly at Blackburn


Results focused

When Blackburn Rovers owner Venkatesh Rao announced the shock dismissal of manager Sam Allardyce in December, the decision came with a qualifier which would have made painful reading for the former Bolton and Newcastle boss.

It seemed the recent run of four wins from seven games just prior to his dismissal, was not enough for Rao and his brother Balaji, who expected a more exciting brand of football than that doled up by Allardyce's charges, on a weekly basis.

A simple-but-effective style won him plaudits in keeping Bolton in the Premier League on numerous occasions and relief at avoiding the drop also made his rescue mission at Ewood Park in 2008, all the more bearable.
Allardyce is a no-nonsense, old-fashioned, straight-talking, results-focused boss. In business, it's sometimes about style, flair and creativity, but in the most part, it's about getting results. And that's something that Allardyce is very good at.


Mick McCarthy – Wolverhampton Wanderers



In his playing days, Mick McCarthy was a big centre back who regularly won the headers and tackles he went for and his managerial style, in a way, is very similar. McCarthy looks over his team, allowing them to speak freely, but he always has the last decision, and always knows exactly what's going on with his players. He leads from the back and lets his players act on his instructions.

He won't always tell his players what they want to hear, or give them directions that they want to follow, but he's an honest manager, and what he says goes. He won't sugar-coat it, he says it like it is. Wolverhampton know when they haven't played well, but they also know when they have performed well.
"In the commercial sense, having a great relationship with your employees, where they want to go out and perform to the very best of their abilities and enjoy what they do, can be a very powerful and rewarding style."

However, similar to Ancelotti, in the business world, McCarthy would struggle. He is good at what he does, but he relies on good people around him, to whom he can direct and delegate. It stands to reason that if he hasn't got the strongest team around him in the first place, his management style will struggle to make any major positive impact.

Ian Holloway – Blackpool


An audience with the Blackpool manager is never dull. Just like Jose Mourinho, another media darling of the Premier League who was never short of a well-chosen soundbite, his turn of phrase can light up any occasion.
Holloway however, isn't in charge of Chelsea or backed by Roman Abramovich's billions. Yet he has somehow revived one of English football's great old clubs, taking a team tipped for relegation to League One just over a year ago, into mid-table of the Premier League (correct at the time of writing).

Holloway has taken a group of players - many of whom were not wanted elsewhere - and galvanised them into a team who will run through brick walls for him. They still play with a smile. And on match days, Holloway can be seen urging his players to enjoy themselves and the game.

Holloway is a motivator and full of encouragement for his team. He has a great relationship with his team, and that’s the main focus of his management style. In the commercial sense, having a great relationship with your employees, where they want to go out and perform to the very best of their abilities and enjoy what they do, can be a very powerful and rewarding style. In times of recession the ‘relationship’ management style approach can be a winner, but it all depends on the character of the manager.
To read part 1, click here
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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