BE CONSISTENT IN IMPOSING
Being consistent, says Ferguson, is the essence of
being a leader. Discipline is an important aspect of
management, and employees need to know who
you are and trust that you are right when you impose
rules. But don’t be too quick to resort to severe
sanctions. “Inexperienced, or insecure, leaders are
often tempted to make any infraction a capital offense.
That is all well and good — except, once you have hung
the person, you are plumb out of options,” he says.
EMBRACE YOUR ENTIRE TEAM
Long before he became a coach, Ferguson was
a player, and he still remembers the coach who didn’t
say good morning but would just walk by. “You
must recognize that people are working for you.
Knowing their names, saying good morning in the
morning is critical,” he says.
And every time you win a cup or a trophy,
Ferguson says, you should bring every member of
your staff into that canteen — “the laundry girls,
the canteen staff, the groundsmen” — and pour the
champagne for everyone because it’s their trophy
as much as the players’.
FIRING IS HARD — DO IT RIGHT
Firing people is never easy, says Ferguson, but once
a manager realizes it needs to be done, “nothing
beats honesty. I gradually learned that there was no
point beating about the bush by taking somebody out
for dinner or sending his wife a box of chocolates or
flowers to try to soften the news. The gimmicks don’t
change the message.”
THINK LONG TERM
Having the time to establish a solid foundation and
to gradually build toward longterm prosperity is not
a luxury afforded most football managers or business
leaders, Moritz says. The pressure to win or the need
to produce quarterly earnings makes the quick
fix almost irresistible, but the top management of
Manchester United sheltered Ferguson from that
pressure. “This freedom from the tyranny of immediate
results enabled Sir Alex to constantly work on the
composition of the club several years into the future,
without worrying whether he would still be there if
United had a bad losing streak,” says Moritz.
Body language is important: Someone who sits up
properly and is leaning forward a little is showing that
they are eager to start, says Ferguson. Asking questions
at a job interview is crucial. “I often get a measure
of someone by listening to the questions they pose.
It shows how they think, offers a sense of their level of
experience and degree of maturity,” he says. Δ
THINK LONG Keep future goals in mind despite the daily pressure to win. R e