Would you change your football team, or your values? Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_hin255′>hin255 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>











It’s that time of year again. The one when the ups and downs of the past nine months are mostly finished, the main players are looking for a month or so spent on the beach, and the planning starts ready for next year.

We’re talking about football of course. The season’s almost done and dusted, with just the last few cups to be won, European places still up for grabs and the last remaining promotions still to be decided.

And that’s the beauty of football. Sticking with your team no matter what. You celebrate the highs together and despair at the lows together. Each season brings another shot at glory. Maybe our name’s on the cup this year, or it’s our turn to be champions.

If you ask any supporter of any team if they’d change their football allegiance, they’d say no in a heartbeat. The one thing football fans don’t do is change their loyalty. Switching teams is just about the worst thing you can do in the eyes of other supporters.

One group of individuals who are allowed to change their allegiance, however, are football managers. Their chosen profession is one of the most perilous around, with very few of this select band lucky enough to stick around at one club for a considerable length of time. Even winning your country’s top league for the first time in a club’s history isn’t enough to save you from the chop these days.

If you stop and think about it, the best football managers – and we’ll leave you to think of your favourites here – have to show incredible and unique levels of leadership. They usually have to pick up the pieces from another manager who’s failed, up sticks and move to a city they’re unfamiliar with (often in a foreign country), speak countless languages, and deal with a bunch of highly-volatile players. And they’re expected to be an instant success on top of all this.

What’s often overlooked as a skill great football managers need to have is how they change their values to fit their club. Most football clubs are built on a set of values that fans understand. Some are friendly, family-based clubs with a local support. Others have a huge international support. There are teams where the expectation is to win a trophy every season, while for others the fans simply want exciting, attractive football to be played.

Managers have to be aware of these values and adapt to them. Traditions are to be respected, and the integrity of the club is almost as important to supporters as success. Teams can be winning, but supporters might not like the style of the play or a manager’s philosophy. What worked for the manager at one club might not be right at another club because it’s not ‘the way we do things’. The buck stops with the manager and eventually, they’ll lose their job.

So what we can learn from managers of the beautiful game? The most important lesson is that it’s OK to change your values sometimes depending on the organisation you’re part of. There are individual values you hold dear that you’d never change. They’re ingrained and are formed from a set of beliefs that have informed and influenced your life over the years.

But different organisations have different values and to really succeed, you might have to alter your values a bit sometimes. Not compromise on them, as they’re too deep to change quickly and without thought. However, the ability to be flexible and adapt can give you greater success, and this might mean having to change your values a little bit.

This isn’t as difficult as it sounds as values often change as you move through life. Today, a healthy work-life balance might be important to you whereas getting promotions and a big salary was your main priority. This is an example of where a value’s changed.

So if you find your values don’t quite match an organisation, re-assess which of them are really important. Some of them might not mean as much as you thought. It’s all about aligning values rather than totally changing them.

Being able to change behaviour to suit your situation isn’t unique to football management. To be a truly great leader in any organisation, understanding the values of the organisation is crucial. If you don’t know how things work and what the people expect, you’re doomed to failure.

Anyway, who do you want us to sign next season?