England has come crashing out of the World Cup, but our players are coming home heroes having gotten further in the competition than any team we’ve put forward since 1990.

Their success is being credited to manager Gareth Southgate and his leadership style; calm, authoritative, and above all collaborative.

What can business leaders learn from him to propel their teams to greater success?

It’s not just about donning a waistcoat. Southgate has been developing some of his players for years in the England Under 21s; he’s been thinking long-term. He knows what he wants each player to do and he helps them to achieve it.

Top-down dictatorial leadership is ill-effective. True leaders that want to get the ultimate performance from their teams use collaboration.

So what does a collaborative leader look like?

Integrity, compassion and trust

Invest time to build relationships. It’s not always about the short-term wins; build a foundation that will take you to where you want to be in the future.

People will follow you into battle if they believe you have their best interests and that of the whole team at the forefront at all times, not your own progression.

Create a safe and supported environment where people can learn, experiment and be creative. Take away the fear of failure and their raw talent will shine through.

Bring People Together

Value diversity – let people be themselves and bring in fresh talent periodically to mix things up. Allow teams time to understand each other and encourage collaboration amongst them.

Empower and Engage

Share some control but be strong enough to take decisive action when needed.

Help teams to achieve rather than just telling them what to do.

Make decision-making more transparent.

See each individual as a person, not just a body at a desk. Understand them, their skills and challenges. Show trust and treat them as adults.

(Read our blog: ‘Eight Steps to More Empowered Teams’)


Great leaders have emotional and psychological intelligence. They show empathy and appreciate the needs of their employees, not just their work output.

Lead by Example

It’s not ‘you and them’; build a ‘we’re in this together’ mentality with a shared purpose and vision. Let go of the ‘silo’ attitude and demonstrate collaboration with other leaders, teams and departments.

If you’d like to develop your leadership skills, get in touch for a free consultation today.

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