Pep talk – reflections on excellence, leadership, values and partnership

[From Susanne Clarke, Head of Service Excellence]

Paul McGee (The Sumo Guy), who will be at the Service Excellence conference this year, ran an inspiring leadership seminar for Professional Service Staff  undertaking new leadership roles in faculties last week – and what a brilliant seminar.  One story Paul shared that I found really inspiring focuses on the role of leadership and a reminder of the importance of “getting out and about” talking to our staff and students – making ourselves as leaders visible and accessible.

Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 16.32.39Pep Guardiola, prior to arriving at Man City  as club manager, requested photos and a few notes for all staff at Man City who would be involved with the first team – including back office, kitchen and cleaning staff. He did this as he wanted to build a relationship with everyone who would play a role in supporting Man City.   It certainly was noticed by those staff when Pep arrived knowing all their names.

Whilst this approach is not always practical in larger organisations it did remind me that walking about and getting to know all our staff has to be a priority for all who lead.   In Pep’s case I assume it was effective and will admit that knowing very little about football I had to resort to an on-line search and could see that many players have rated Pep as the best club manager in football.

I don’t know much either about the culture of football club management (or even where Man City sit in the league tables) but this seems to be an example of a leader who intentionally seeks to develop a trusting and values based relationship with all staff.  Recognising the role that all staff play in seeking excellence.  I will continue with my assumptions (no evidence base here – I think in blogs that can be forgiven) that Pep’s job hangs on the performance of the first team and in taking the time to build wider relationships he recognises that this is critical to success and integral to his role as a manager to create mutual trust and respect.

Having spent much time delving into the leadership culture in organisations such as Disney – I am now very curious about the culture of leadership in football – I may even write another blog once I have read a book or two and become an expert.

And yes, I have to end with a plug for the Service Excellence Conference – 20th April which celebrates the role we all play – it isn’t a conference for Professional Services staff  it is for all staff and we would love to see more academics at the conference to reinforce this important partnership and our goals to deliver excellence to our students and our community.  Free tickets are now available to book.

PS: Anyone with expertise in leadership and football can have a VIP ticket to the Service Excellence Conference.

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