Feature: Jose Mourinho – the master of engagement?

Is Jose Mourinho the master of employee engagement?

August 30, 2013

Jose Mourinho is, by his own admission, the Special One. But how does he inspire such engagement from his teams?

The Chelsea FC boss has enjoyed a stellar career with the likes of Real Madrid, Inter Milan and FC Porto.

But how does he inspire such incredibly high levels of engagement from his superstar teams?

His method, it appears, is simple.

His players are more important than him – and this is communicated in a clear and unfussy style.

He revealed this week: “I think there are two ways of travelling with the players in a plane: you travel in business class where everybody goes in business class, or if there is not space for everybody then the players go in business class and you go in economy class with your staff.

“If I go in business it’s because they go. If there is no space for everybody else, I go behind them.

“One of the things you must remember as a leader is your people are more important than you.”

The Portuguese icon is famed for inspiring players to greater heights of achievement, and building a sense of loyalty that is envied by rivals across the football world.

But what gives his team the extra few per cent that brings such success?

Mourinho lifted the lid on his communications methods in extracts from the book The Manager, which is being published in The Telegraph.

He said: “The more you understand them the more you can lead them.

“I never liked the kind of leadership where the boys say: ‘He’s my leader, I have to respect him.’ I prefer them to say: ‘I respect him and he’s my leader.’

“Of course, many people say we cannot be friends with the players. I say exactly the opposite.

“If you are not friends with the players you do not reach the maximum potential of that group.

“You have to be friends with them, but they have to understand that between friends the answer is never the answer they are expecting, or the answer they want to hear. They have to understand that.”

Mourinho returned to the Premier League this summer with Chelsea, looking to repeat the success from his first stint at Stamford Bridge.