Home » Blog » [#025] Unlocking the Secrets of Successful Leadership: A Conversation between Gareth Southgate and Toto Wolff

[#025] Unlocking the Secrets of Successful Leadership: A Conversation between Gareth Southgate and Toto Wolff

This short but inspiring video is an excerpt from Channel 4's Boss to Boss series with England's Mens Football manager, Gareth Southgate, and Mercedes F1 manager, Toto Wolff.

Their exchange was a masterclass in leadership, management, motivation and human behaviour. Here are five of the key takeaways:

  • Authenticity: Both highlighted the importance of being authentic. Authenticity builds trust, and people can sense when you're not genuine. Southgate mentions the futility in trying to lead like someone else.
  • Empathy: Leadership isn't about the leader; it's about those they lead. Empathy is understanding the human at a fundamental level, grasping their struggles, and aiding them in overcoming challenges.
  • Eliminating the Fear of Failure: Toto Wolff describes building a culture where team members feel safe. Mistakes are inevitable. What's essential is how the mistakes are adressed and how people are treated. By encouraging an open discussion about errors and fostering a ‘safe' work environment, the organisation becomes stronger.
  • Managing Conflict: Gareth Southgate talks about the need for clear and honest conversations, especially when conflicts arise. The objective is always team success, and constructive conflict is part of that achieving that success. What is not useful is to people to hold on to personal agendas.
  • Motivation: World-class athletes or employees are inherently motivated. What they need is an environment that matches their standards. Sometimes, the challenge is not to motivate but to ensure that nothing demotivates them. Over-engaging or forcing motivation, especially in high-pressure moments, can be counterproductive. Being able to recognise when to step back is a valuable leadership trait.

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