A truly engaging leader has led to phenomenal Premier League success for Leicester City Football Club (LCFC) this season.
In an exclusive interview with IC Mag, inspirational LCFC Manager Claudio Ranieri shares his tactics.
Communicating a vision in a way that wholeheartedly engages those around you is no mean feat; but get it right, and you’ll achieve the Holy Grail – success.
One of the most magical examples of engaging leadership in recent times is happening right now at Leicester.
After being promoted to the Premier League in 2014 following ten years out of it, underdog City has shocked even its most avid supporters with a tale of unprecedented – almost unbelievable – success this season.
In December, the club – which finished 14th last year – rose to the top of the league and, at the time of going to press, was just three wins away from winning the title.
When fortunes turned – around the same time that King Richard III’s remains were moved to Leicester Cathedral – there was speculation that the team had been blessed by the king.
But most are attributing the success to an entirely different reason: manager Claudio Ranieri.
He joined the club in July 2015, and got it off to a winning streak without delay.
In our exclusive interview, Ranieri told IC Mag that there is nothing unusual about what he does. He’s just a master of IC best practice, it seems.
“I just want everyone to feel involved – medical staff, sports science teams, our Chief Executive,” he said.
“Everyday decisions or jobs – we are all part of the project.”
Ranieri believes in not managing with an iron fist, but sharing the goal and then giving people the space to get on with achieving it.
“Communication is important,” he said.
“I want us to survive everything, but I also want everyone to be free to do the best in their jobs.
“The team has to be able to communicate with me as well. Then if I need to encourage them, I do.”
He is getting something right.
On 13 April, three of Ranieri’s players – N’Golo Kanté, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy – were named on a shortlist of six for the prestigious PFA Player of the Year Awards. Mahrez went on to win the award.
Playing to your team’s strengths is key for the esteemed manager, who has won two Premier League Manager of the Month awards this season and was named Italian Coach of the Year in the 2016 National Enzo Bearzot Awards.
He recently told an Italian journalist: “What matters is getting the best out of the squad you have.
“The most important thing a good coach must do is build the team around the characteristics of his players.
“I told the players that I trusted them and would speak very little of tactics.
“This is the pact I made the first day – ‘I trust you. I’ll explain some football ideas to you every now and then, as long as you give me everything’.”
Echoing this sentiment, he told IC Mag: “For me, it’s important to give my players a lot of confidence.
“I watched at the beginning to see what the best solution for us would be.
“Then I pushed what I thought they could do best, and tried to link everyone in the right direction.”
What he’s achieved is a positive, happy and successful team that works and plays in a harmony that’s being praised from all angles.
“It’s difficult to say exactly what the key to our success is,” he added.
“The team is very close, they are brothers. In every match, they give 100 per cent.
“For me it’s true that Leicester has exceeded the sum of their parts more than any team I have ever, ever seen.
“When people are positive and work in a positive environment, it’s much better.
“Then, when you get results, everyone is smiling and everything goes well.”