Alex Ferguson wasn’t a manager, he was a leader
“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another.” John C. Maxwell
Alex Ferguson was one of the most successful managers of all time winning the Premier League 13 times, 5 FA Cups and 2 Champion League titles. Alex Ferguson’s title was manager but his primary task was to lead and motivate a squad of players to produce individual performances and works as team for a whole season.
During your career you will work for managers, if you are fortunate you will work for a leader.
Managers monitor and schedule, checking the work done meets the goals and objectives set. Tasks are assigned and work gets done because the manager has authority.
Leaders inspire people, work is done because people believe in the vision of the leader.
In the book Leading by Sir Alex Ferguson (Author), Sir Michael Moritz (Author) gives insights into management style of Alex Ferguson. The back of the book has a great quote
“My job was to make everyone understand that the impossible was possible. That’s the difference between leadership and management.” Alex Ferguson
Leaders sell a vision of the future and everyone works to make the vision become reality.
The differences between leaders and managers is motivation. Managers motivate by fear, leaders motivate by inspiring people.
Leaders are not focused on personal accomplishments or credit, instead they focus on what the group can achieve by working together. The quote below highlights this attitude
“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.” — Andrew Carnegie
One Alex Ferguson’s motivational stories talks about geese flying from Canada to France. They fly in a V formation show in the picture above. The geese swap positions during the flight to enable the geese at the back to rest, to accomplish the flight the geese must work as a team.
“If one goose falls ill, two always have to go with him. What I was saying was that I’m only asking you to go 38 games in the League to win it. I’m not asking you to go 5,000 miles!” Alex Ferguson
Trust and delegation
Ferguson explains the importance of delegation. when he started out in management he tried to do everything
- take training sessions
- make sure the pies were right
- talk to the groundsman about the height of the grass
- negotiate contracts
- everything and anything
Without delegation Ferguson became a bottleneck and he found his staff were frustrated at not being able to do their job. Ferguson was spending too much time on low impact tasks and not enough time on important tasks.
Ferguson’s moved to Man utd and with more people to manage Ferguson had to learn to delegate because there was too much to do. This quote highlights his thoughts on delegation
“When I hired someone to do something, I trusted them to do it. I depended on them to get on with their job and come to me with any problems”
Here are some inspiration quotes on Leadership
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
picture from here