Leicester’s Lesson in Leadership


The above link is to an article on what might be cleared about leadership from the "fairytale" of Leicester City winning the English Premiership last season.

As an ex-pat Brit I followed and was enthralled by the unfolding story of Leicester's totally unpredicted march to the Premiership: I was also interested in how those of us in the "leadership" space would rush to learn the "lessons about leadership" that we could then weave into our stories, facilitations and workshops.

I think the article makes some pertinent points. However, what I'm more interested in is the way the outcome i.e. Leicester's triumph is used to define the "rightness" of Raineri's style of leading - the implication being that if leaders just did what Raineri did, then they could experience the same level of success. I wonder if we would draw the same insights had he done exactly the same things and the team's performance been mediocre? A complex adaptive process approach would indicate that success is a combination of a multitude of  things - many of which are beyond our control - and is rarely predictable and often only understood in retrospect. If it were a simple case of copying Raineri's formula then every team now has the formula for a successful season - but we will still have teams that win and those that lose. Maybe if we have a wider definition of success - e.g. did we create a common sense of purpose, did we engage with the purpose, did we have clarity of expectations, was it a safe place to be a team member etc - then regardless of whether they won the premiership or not we might be interested in what culture was co-created at Leicester during that season.

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