By Adam Smith
The Jurgen Klopp Way
How to lead like the amazing Jurgen Klopp came about after spending the past 5 years watching him take Liverpool from an average side living off the past to arguably the worlds best team. I hope you enjoy this post and anyone wanting to develop their leadership skills this is a must-read.
Background On His Coaching Style
I first came across Jurgen Klopp when he signed for Liverpool F.C in 2015. He had an amazing reputation back in his homeland of Germany as being a forward-thinking coach and famous for his all-out attack approach which they called the gegenpress. As a Liverpool fan, I was excited about what I’ve heard and what I saw in his first press conference. He came across as very charismatic but I never knew how outstanding of a leader he is until further into the future.
Liverpool was a team who was hugely successful in the 70s and 80s with the odd success along the way. When Klopp came to Liverpool the team was closer to a mid-table team than a title contender. Just under 5 years, he has taken an ordinary Liverpool team to become one of the most feared teams in the world of football. He has changed the mentality of Liverpool into a champion’s mindset not by fear but by inspiration. He knows how to get the very best out of players in a way where they still love him at the same time. After every game, if they have given everything they’ve got they even get the famous Klopp hug at the end of the game ( who doesn’t want a Klopp hug)
How To Lead Like The Amazing Jurgen Klopp
If you want to become a leader of people learning from Jurgen Klopp should be on top of your list. He turns ordinary into extraordinary. He turns excellent into world-class. Jurgen is someone you would follow into battle. He is the leader we all wish we had to guide us through life. I’ve reassessed a lot of my own leadership techniques based on his approach and it has helped me become a better person and leader and has helped people I teach to become better too.
Below are some of my favourite leadership qualities that he uses that you can use to lead your team to success.
What Makes Him A Great Leader?
Communication in life is essential for getting you ahead but also getting the best out of people you lead. This is the difference between someone respecting you or thinking you’re full of shit. It’s the understanding and implementation of your words into action or just going through one ear and out the other. Words are powerful and how you broadcast your message defines you as a leader.
Jurgen Klopp is a master at this and he not only clearly does this with his team but also with journalist, pundits and even his fellow peers.
Learning and evolving your communication skills to get the best out of your team is crucial. You have to study amazing leaders like Klopp who communicate their message and read books like How To Win Friends And Influence people to really understand the importance of this skill which with practice we can all learn. Once learned you can then broadcast your message in your own unique way.
Demands The Best
When leading people it’s your job to find the best in them and then bring their best out through your leadership. As a team, you need to set your standards high where you believe your team can reach through their potential. You as a leader need to think big and demand excellence from your team. The mentality of your team comes from you and thats why Klopp is in the same leauge of all the great managers becasue he expects the best.
There’s a famous saying by Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield where he changes the famous saying Skys the limit to Sky is not the limit. This subtle change in words makes all the difference when demanding the best from your team or organisation.
This is what Jurgen Klopp does well. Thinking big. He expects his team to win trophies and he expects his team to give their all every game. His training is especially intense and new signings who were the best players in their respected teams, when they come to Liverpool it can take time to adapt but when they get it. They become even better players than they were before. This is what you have to do for your teams. When you get new people joining. Ask yourself can I make them better than when you found them?
Has Amazing Energy
People follow the energy. Leaders energy is the vibration that keeps everything together. How many times have we seen new coaches come into a team that was failing and then all of sudden the players are trying harder than they did before? I see this a lot. Now the difference between coaches that are successful and ones that quickly tail off is down to how consistent they can manage their own mindsets to produces consistent positive energy. The same is true when someone starts a new job or goes on a date.
The difference for you doing well at your job or having a long-lasting relationship is the energy levels you showed when you first started. That’s what got you your early success. The question is can you keep it up. For the likes of Klopp and Pep Guardiola, (another exceptional leader) their consistant energy level are their for the world to see and can be felt all over the clubs they manage.
Being a leader you have to be a master tactician. Having a plan and knowing how to execute it is great but knowing when to adapt it is just as important if not more. Jurgen saw this within his first two seasons of English football. His side put in the most effort during every game than any other team around in Europe.
Then when it came to halfway through the season the player’s legs were tired that results started to not go in their favour. From this, he made an adjustment to the teams’ style and rotation and now the team fire on all cylinders for a whole season fighting for all major trophies. When leading people you have to stay adaptive to change.
Change will come, it always comes whether you like it or not. Don’t be the leader who gets left behind as you will be doing a disservice to the people you lead.
Has A Vision
Every successful leader has to have a vision of where they see the team or organisation headed. In Jurgen first press conference is stated that we will win the title within 4 years. It took them 5 in the end but the vision was there to be able to do it. John F Kennedy had a vision for Americans to be first humans to step onto the moon. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to see it but his vision was in place.
There are countless amounts of leaders who have a vision that’s so clearly defined that people believe it can be attained no matter the cost. How you paint that vision depends on your skill with the brush. How you communicate it and believe it to be true will define whether people will follow it. You have to show them the benefits of the vision but also make them feel it because when humans feel something strongly enough they take action. This is what the best leaders do. To unlock that feeling in others. What’s your vision going to be to better mankind?
Picks Character Over Talent
Being a successful leader is picking the right people to work with. Not everyone will be compatible with your personality, your vision or way of working. That’s OK. You have to choose people with the right characteristics not a talent for your team. It’s a lot easier to teach someone new tactics, strategies and skills than it is there character. Jurgen and his team have found players that were considered nobodies or failures. When they identified them and brought them to Liverpool, they have become world-class players in their positions.
Finding the right characters matter to a teams harmony level because one rotten egg can affect the whole batch if left long enough. He also had this experience when he first joined Liverpool from a player that went to far with his practical jokes. He left the club within a month. That’s how much Jurgen values the team of the right characters all going in the same direction. Look with your team now or in your hiring process. Is it set up to win or are there rotten eggs ruining all your hard work. In this area, you have to be ruthless or it will ruin you in the end.
Jurgen Klopp is a true leader. Everyone should look to learn from him if you want to be a successful leader. He has mastered the art of dealing with people that whatever he touches will soon turn to gold. Leadership is an important part of life whether that be at work, coaching a sports team or being a parent at home.
The same skills all apply and your success and the people you lead success is entwined together with your leadership. It’s a hell of a responsibility but one of the most worthwhile things you can do as a human. Remember leader in Latin is to serve. So make sure you’re serving others with the best version of you or learn first from a leader you admire to gain those valuable skills.
If you like this post how to lead like the amazing Jurgen Klopp. Please share it to anyone you know who is working on leadership.
Thank you for reading, see you on the next post.