Jurgen Klopp - Great Football Managers Want Character Too!
By Jatinder Singh, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International
Modern football isn’t a sport that most people associate with strong character ethics, especially with so many stories of footballers (or its administrators) behaving badly over the last decade. It’s now a sport where it’s common for promising young players to be making tens of thousands of pounds every week and the top stars half a million pounds per week. This can lead to big personalities and egos getting in the way of the true character of the game - doing it for the love of the game and not the money - to play for the team and for the fans.
So it’s wonderfully refreshing to hear a manager who is regarded as one of the best in the world, to talk about the importance of character in the game and in his players. Jurgen Klopp who was recently appointed manager of Liverpool FC said in an article in the Guardian,
“For me the character of a player is the most important consideration, he must have the will to improve himself. When I am managing a club I think each young player should smile, because the door is wide open for him. He has the chance to do anything. I don’t care so much about experience, it can be important but it is not the main thing. The best players in the world today are around already, you can see them. What I enjoy more is trying to identify the best players of tomorrow, who has the capacity to improve himself most..."
It’s powerful to hear Jurgen talk like this. He’s showing the same mindset and philosophy of nurturing talent as other great leaders in other industries have done, such as in business where Jack Welch shared similar sentiments. He is also showing his awareness of understanding the importance of his role as a mentor. He isn’t looking for the best current players for a quick-fix, he recognises and believes that he can take those with character and help them fulfill their potential with his experience and guidance over the medium and long term.
If you could spend a day with any living legend in an area you are passionate about, who would it be and what would you like to learn?
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I am passionate about fulfilling my potential in life and helping others to do the same, so that we can all make a difference to society. I’ve learnt that fulfilment comes from pursuing a goal that is greater than my own ambitions and having a real purpose.
I originally qualified as a Chartered Accountant but it was helping people through entrepreneurship and career development, rather than doing the numbers when I really came started to enjoy myself. I have found that we aren’t taught as youngsters how to deal with challenging life situations and so there are many people that on the “outside” are fine, but “inside” really struggle.