Truth Is Just Perception

The Management Lesson Of Carlo Ancelotti

The great Italian coach has again shown his class and integrity.

This summer, Ancelotti succeeded Pep Guardiola at the helm of Bayern Munich.

Ancelotti and Guardiola are part of the very exclusive club – it has more or less five members – of the greatest active soccer coaches, those who have won several Champions Leagues, the most prestigious European competition.

Most of these coaches have an oversized ego and have a rivalry between them that sometimes borders on obsession, as in the case of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.

On Friday night, after Bayern Munich defeated Werder Bremen 6-0 in the opening game of the German league, Carlo Ancelotti said:

I am very happy, this is a very good performance from my team. Honestly, I didn’t change very much. This is a very strong team.

Ancelotti could have put himself forward and explained the changes he had had to make to a team that didn’t win the Champions League under Pep Guardiola. Yet he did not.

Carlo Ancelotti - (CC) Doha Stadium Plus Qatar

Carlo Ancelotti – (CC) Doha Stadium Plus Qatar

When a manager joins an organization, they tend to criticize their predecessor. This allows them to promote their own potential and thus enlist their new employees. This attitude also serves their ego by presenting themselves as the savior of a situation that could obviously not be satisfactory before they joined.

The way a new manager speaks of their predecessor says more about the former than the latter. If they show class, as Carlo Ancelotti did, they reveal that they are honest and will make decisions based on objective criteria, they base their success on their own achievements and not the (supposed or real) failures of others, and they prefer actions to self-congratulations.

Such a dignified manager also communicates to their employees that they intend to build a strong team spirit in their organization:

  • They will not be sensitive to the maneuvers of those who might be tempted to criticize their colleagues in order to boast their own merits.
  • They are aware that, if they had blamed their predecessor, they would also have criticized their employees.

A respectful manager can still make the changes they deem necessary to further improve the efficiency of their team. But they build on the past instead of fighting it.

One of the most important roles of any manager is to lead by example. In this respect, their behavior in their first hours and days of leadership is always decisive.

As the saying goes, we only get one chance to make a first impression.

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