Creating the right work environment

For young competitors to develop and progress in the highly competitive world of professional sport creating an appropriate environment for development is vital.

But what does it take to create that environment where people can grow and their talents blossom? What does it take to create a development environment that provides innovation and the growth of talent, which in turn provides inspiration for others to want to go all out for those sought after rewards for success? Is business and sport that different that they are not capable of providing a learning platform for each to develop from?

Here are ten principles, which can serve as a blueprint for success as a leadership philosophy that I encountered throughout my football career:

  1. A living code of conduct, not a wallpaper decoration that is seen and never truly observed. A code should be developed with true values and integrity, where all develop their own hard work ethic and this in turn encourages an affinity for the place where they work.
  2. A vision for development that lives through the code of conduct. This vision should aim to take a business to its chosen place. It should therefore be able to pursue its dreams through its aspirations but more importantly be realistic in that it is able to achieve those dreams.
  3. Values for the development of the business to be expressed through strong but caring leadership. These values have to become owned by the team.
  4. A clear understanding of applying the ‘what, the when and the how’.
  5. Recruit and retain the best talent.
  6. Commit to nurturing and encouraging that talent while accepting that they can be difficult to manage. Committing to teaching is key for personal and team development.
  7. Leadership understanding what a team wants from its leaders and where leaders intelligently express its needs for the business.
  8. Acceptance of meeting challenges ‘head on’ and that a mindset to do so is critical for success. Getting up when knocked down again and again if necessary.
  9. Create momentum as a team and do not allow self-interests to prevail.
  10. Promote ‘fun’ in the workplace, as pleasure should always take the place of pressure.

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