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Jose Mourinho on Creative Leadership


Jose Mourinho is one of those compelling speakers that makes you sit up and listen to whatever he has to say. In an article in today’s Telegraph he speaks about some of his leadership philosophies, which I think are interesting when applied to creativity – after all, football is a creative game, and I’d imagine you have to apply some pretty good creative leadership skills to manage a side of 11 intensely competitive multi-millionaires.

Jose starts off by revealing that he adopts different leadership styles according to the situation he is in. For example in his first stint at Chelsea, he adopted the style of a ‘confrontational leader’:

I think that, as a manager, you are always a leader, but sometimes you can be a different kind of leader. There I was a confrontational leader because I felt that was what the team needed at the time. The guys desperately needed to make the jump from potential to reality, and I think they needed the kind of leader I was. I called it confrontational leadership: confrontation not just inside, but also outside the group. We were not afraid to say we are the best, we were not afraid to say we are going to win, or we are special, we are going to prove that we are – so it was perfect.

Creative leaders need to manage talent. Sometimes that means imposing the necessary constraints, while at other times it means providing them with enough freedom to express themselves to their creative potential.

I have never had a problem with working with that special talent – never. And I never understood when people say that it is a problem, or you can have a special talent but not two or three or four. I want 11 special talents in my team! Maybe I was lucky, maybe I wasn’t, but it was never a problem. The toughest thing is when you don’t have talent in your squad.

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.

And finally he talks about respect, and why it is important to earn it rather than impose it:

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.’ It is a completely different thing. They can say: ‘I do that because he tells me to do that and I have to.’ I prefer them to say: ‘I believe in him so much, and trust him so much that everything he says I want to do!’

Read the full article here.

Photo credit: Alemaxale

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