Focused Leadership

Gareth Southgate, manager of the England men’s football team, has a lot to be proud of as his team reaches the finals of the European championships for the first time.  Many people are applauding his leadership style.  For me there are two aspects of his leadership style that stand out:

  1. He shows all the attributes of the Navigator style in how he interacts with others. 
  • Pundits describe him as calm, considered, methodical, serious, formal, reserved, polite, prepared – these fit the Navigator style of interaction. 
  • Navigators have an inner drive to work out a course of action and make deliberate decisions.  Southgate spends time in preparation and planning, evaluating the risks and making contingency plans – such as which subs to use in which situations (eg when he subbed the sub, Jack Grealish, in the semi-final).
  • He focuses on the process rather than the outcome – he wants the team to win, but his focus is on how to get there, the course of action to achieve the desired outcome.
  • He communicates his calm considered approach to the players – the need for patience, the need to keep possession, the need not to panic.
  • During a match, he often frowns and looks serious and focused.  Even when the team scores, his celebration is muted compared with those around him.  These are typical energies of the Navigator Interaction Style.

These attributes of the Navigator style have served him well as manager of the team and have rubbed off on the players too. 

2. Leadership is about more than how you communicate.  It’s also about your values and the culture you create through demonstrating your values in what you do and say.  There is no doubt that Gareth Southgate has been a leader in this respect too. 

  • He is authentic – he has the courage to say what he believes in and why.  This was evidenced in the eloquent letter he wrote about why he supported his players in #takingtheknee. 
  • It’s also apparent in how he chooses the team and how he uses the substitutes – he is not afraid to do what he thinks is right for the team even if individual players may be disappointed. 

All four Interaction Styles (the others are Energiser, Mobiliser and Synthesiser) can work in leadership roles. They each bring a different style of leadership and have a different type of impact on their followers.  Knowing your own natural style means you can be a more conscious leader, drawing on your strengths and being able to flex your style when necessary.   

How does your Interaction Style impact how you lead others and how others perceive you?

Find out more about the strengths and challenges of your own style, in my book, and browse my Resources hub to learn more.