Leading like a Boss: Who makes and breaks leaders like Sir Alex Ferguson?

Mohd Fahad Ifaz
March 9, 2014
Leading like a Boss: Who makes and breaks leaders like Sir Alex Ferguson?

When a leader such as Sir Alex Ferguson who has held the top spot at Manchester United football club for nearly 27 years retires, you’re not looking for ‘just’ a replacement to manage ‘just’ a football team, you are looking for someone who must have the credibility and gravitas to fill the huge hole left behind by such change at the biggest football clubs in the world.
Sir Alex is not just a football manager. His name and Manchester United Football Club go hand-in-hand. The successful track record of the club and Sir Alex is outstanding. In the world of football, not many football managers have the success and job security that Sir Alex had enjoyed. Due to the nature in which football managers are recruited, succession planning (if that is what we should call it) has probably never been on the table until now. Within a couple of days of announcing his retirement it seems they have found a replacement already.
Nurturing talent within any organization, especially start-ups, is the sustainable way for ensuring the future successes of an organization, but are our talented and ambitious people quick to jump ship for the next best thing? Would you? It could be argued that experience elsewhere broadens your management horizons providing you with more objectivity and individuality as a leader.
Imagine that you have invested time, resources and money into your people only to find that they are off to pastures new because you’ve helped them achieve their potential and the opportunities for them to move forward in your company are limited or non-existent at the time. Have you lost them forever or will that person be heading back in the future? A stronger and more experienced leader? Could the personal development of people undermine loyalty in the short-term but over the longer-term that investment in people and their appreciation of it becomes a renewed and stronger loyalty to your company and naturally forms part of your organization’s sustainable future.
It’s always going to be a fine balance between developing people in your organization and providing them with opportunities that makes them an experienced and highly skilled individual.
If we think about this in terms of your startup, do you have team members that you could nurture and develop to be the leader of your organization? And equally, are you looking to develop your employees and give them tangible opportunities to put these into practice? If we want to play a part in developing and becoming the leaders in providing sustainable solutions through startup business models, then don’t we owe it to our team members, to provide them with development opportunities? Be it personal or technical.With our bootstrapped, trial and error business models, there is no reason why we can’t support young people to realize their full potential, try new things and make mistakes , ultimately enabling them to use their new found skills to channel back in to the organization.
Of course, as a supporter of the Red Devils I wish the new manager of Manchester United all the best as he faces a whole host of challenges that come with filling Fergie’s football boots. But I also wish all of our future leaders the best of luck….perhaps rather than waiting 27 years to step into someone else’s shoes, you will create your own opportunities to take the lead!

WRITTEN BY: Mohd Fahad Ifaz

Fahad wanted to play professional football, but ended up in the development world. He is a private sector and BoP market development consultant.

For further clarifications, contact here: [email protected]

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