Matthias Sammer was one of the most famous number 6s of the mid 1990s, winning UEFA EURO 96 with Germany, the ‘97 UEFA Champions League with Borussia Dortmund and an assortment of national titles.
He’s since gone on to coach and also worked as sporting director at Bayern Munich, bringing with him his lucky number 6 to tackle the leadership and performance challenges that he faces in his new roles.
Here are the six areas that Matthias addresses with future players and business talents alike:
1. Aspirations. What are the visions and goals of the team I belong to?
Take a sheet of paper and write down what your aspirations are for you and your role. Keep looking at the sheet and compare it to reality. Ask yourself the question: does where I am fit my personality? That will help you to find your own stable path or encourage you to change teams.
2. Hierarchy. What is my position, my task? What is my place within the organization?
I’ve been coaching young ambitious footballers recently and believe it’s important to put yourself in the young person’s shoes.
I first have to ask some questions: How does the person I’m talking to think? What are their interests? How do they see themselves? What are their goals? The most important thing is to put the individual’s personal development center stage. When I’ve figured out an individual’s areas for improvement, I can then develop a clear plan.
3. Personality profile. Is the leader a natural authority or are they inauthentic in their role?
This comes down to the type of person you are and whether you feel at ease in a leadership role. Authenticity will decide whether a team trusts its leader or not. A few techniques can be learned, and as is so often the case leaders also grow with their tasks. But you either have the fundamental talent to be a leader or you don’t.
A successful leader on the pitch knows that he is partly responsible for a harmonious structure within a team. This person needs to work closely with the coach to lead and provide direction. Then you have the team players, who support this direction. And then there are the individualists, who want to enjoy their freedom – but they need to keep in mind that the team is the absolute priority. My experience says: if these three types are present, support each other and work together in harmony – then the team will be successful.
4. Practical application. This is where the truth matters – how are a team’s or an organization’s guidelines implemented in practice?
Good management is on the one hand about bringing together different parties if necessary, and on the other about letting them work separately if that is more appropriate, and an organization needs to recognize this and be flexible when required.
5. Rewards. Recognition – whatever form this takes – is fundamental for motivation.
Coaches and mentors are there to recognize ambition and position you within the team accordingly. In business it is the role of good management to identify future leaders, develop their potential leadership characteristics and place them in appropriate positions that reward them and keep up motivation levels.
6. Conflict culture. How are uncertainties, conflicts and difficulties dealt with?
A very important point that has a decisive impact on whether teams and organizations will be successful or not.