Why your managers should aspire to be more like Gareth Southgate

Southgate is England’s most talked about (and loved) waistcoat-wearing manager.

To improve employee relations and encourage an open and transparent working culture, you can encourage your managers to be more like Southgate with our following tips:


As with anything, preparation is key.

From securing England’s place in the World Cup finals to end-of-year reviews, a manager should prepare sufficiently to ensure that their team is well-equipped with the skills they require to succeed.

Southgate is able to get the best from his team by researching the challenges and their context for each match, and analysing his squad’s past performances, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. All too aware of England’s penalty shootout curse from his own experience in the Euros ‘96, Southgate made sure that the team were well-prepared to handle this possibility.

As such, Southgate proactively prepared his team and anticipated where extra training may be required. In the same way, your managers can reflect on their team’s past performance and identify where additional support is needed with the use of regular catch-up meetings and tools to record progress and development.


Having broken the penalty shootout curse against Columbia, Southgate said, ‘I knew the messages that I wanted to give the players, that we were in control of the process.’

Southgate ensured that he had empowered his squad by investing in their training and through the study of their opposition, past performances and tactics, all of which contributed to the team’s psychological strength and resilience.

By empowering the team with resilience, they were able to conquer England’s penalty shootout curse and succeed!

In the same manner, the managers in your organisation can empower their team with frequent feedback, regular upskilling where required, and helpful coaching. This will help employees to recover from any setbacks and move forwards with their job role positively, keeping a focus on the end goal.


All too often, the relationship between managers and teams are a feeling of ‘us versus them’.

However, for a team to be successful, the two must collaborate to achieve the end goal.

Southgate is a respected leader as he has been in the player’s football boots himself and understands the challenges and pressures they face.

Your managers should take the time during one-to-one check-ins to understand what motivates their team and what their personal challenges are: if Southgate can give Fabian Delph time off during the World Cup to see his baby daughter, and encourage the squad to bond over darts and inflatable unicorns, your managers should be understanding to their team’s needs and organise team building to bond over.

This in turn will increase retention rates as staff feel better appreciated and understand that their skills are valued within the team.


One of the most important traits of a manager is their empathy.

Whilst we are not suggesting that your managers should console your organisation’s competitors (as Southgate comforted Colombian midfielder Mateus Uribe), they should be seen as a guiding figure to your team, available to talk to about pressures in the roles.

Employees should feel comfortable talking to their managers about any factors that are hindering their job, and a good manager will show themselves as accountable – as Southgate did in the Euros ’96 – and share the lessons they have learnt along the way to comfort and build up their team.

As Southgate said of the Euros ‘96: ‘I’ve learnt a million things from the day and the years that have followed it – the biggest thing being that when something goes wrong in your life, it doesn’t finish you.’


The largest part Southgate’s charm is his professionalism, both in his appearance and his methods. He offers reassurance, coaching, decency and courage, all whilst remaining very much part of the England squad.

Managers have a lot to learn from Gareth Southgate; they should be able to prepare your employees for all eventualities, empower them to take responsibility, and add their wealth of experience to the team’s skillset which remaining personable and approachable.

Be more like Gareth.


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