Lessons from Liverpool

You’ll Never Walk Alone. That’s the motto which means everything to players and fans of Liverpool Football Club.

FoxSoccer aired a show this summer called Being: Liverpool – a documentary about the eponymous English soccer team and the start of their 2012 campaign.  It’s a show about sports, yes, but more than that. too. If you have it in your head that you want to learn the talent of managing people, then watch how Brendan Rodgers, the Red’s new Boss, handles both locker room speeches and mundane interactions with his players.

He’s calm, warm, and straightforward. He uses positive reinforcement. He is encouraging. He has a plan and he constantly updates his team on where they are in the timeline.

You should watch Being: Liverpool for that.

You should also watch it to see how they behave as a group. They’re a team not only for their matching outfits – but because they work together. Literally. Even if it’s just a walk around the practice field they do everything as one. They dress alike, eat together, and they travel in a big red gang. Everything is designed to make them connect on and off the pitch. Pitch is what they call the field, by the way. Those crazy British, right? They should come over to learn some English.

L.F.C. have (as the Brits interpret the verb) superstar players, but you won’t know which ones they are by watching practice. The superstars are too team-oriented for that. Besides, Brendan Rodgers wouldn’t allow it. Superstar captain Steven Gerrard wouldn’t allow it either. Soccer is a team sport and teammates don’t try to outshine each other. They help others to improve; and the manager and captain both lead by example.

Watch the show for that – it’s refreshing.

But also watch the show to learn how to talk to people. To your kids, your employees, and your bosses. Maybe to your spouse. Brendan Rodgers is my new, and hitherto unaware, communication mentor. Do you ever wonder how to correct someone who’s doing it wrong? Watch Brendan Rodgers. Do you want to see how someone can get a point across without being overbearing? Watch Brendan Rodgers. Do you want to learn how to get a group to think and act as a team? Watch Brendan Rodgers.

Watch Being: Liverpool for that.

And if you like sports at all, you’d do worse than to learn a bit about this storied club which is now owned by the Red Sox. It’s probably a color thing.  

And if you like the poetry of sports, you can’t do better than to listen to poet Dave Kirby during the credits.

And if you like the actor (and native Merseysider) Clive Owen, then watch it for his wonderful narration.

For whatever reason, if you get the chance to watch it, choke down your aversion to the only sport considered exciting even when no one scores, and immerse yourself in people and situations which are both unique and completely ordinary. They will provide you a locker room peep into a different world of leadership and team-building and make you a better manager down at the burger stand.

Categories: Management & Leadership