Taking a step back to analyse the personality and leadership model of Pep Guardiola, ex-coach, of FC Barcelona, Miguel Ángel Violán reflects the teaching style of Pep in his book, “The Guardiola Method: why leaders with common sense get uncommon results.” Violán is a Guardiola fan to the core and though he may not believe Guardiola is perfect, he considers Guardiola’s metholody applicable to both on the field and in the workplace.
How Guardiola succeeds
Playing clean, scoring goals and winning matches. Currently Coaching for FC Bayern Munich, Pep has become a role model for his method of management—both on and off the field. Many business heads have adopted his techniques and structured their business models around Pep’s ideology. His famous quote has inspired all teams, even teams in the workplace. “There’s a magical moment when we’re training for a match, when I say, we’ve got it – tomorrow we’re going to win”, what company wouldn’t want that mantra for a little motivation?
The flexible sports management model. The Guardiola Method, as Violán states, “is not a philosopher’s stone. They are values that you have to be able to understand and must have the will to apply them.” Traits like common sense, teamwork, confidence and humility are all present in the Guardiola Method. A blend of emotional intelligence, coaching techniques and skill, the method benefits any organization because of its common denominator, teamwork.
“There’s a magical moment when we’re training for a match, when I say, we’ve got it – tomorrow we’re going to win.” – Pep Guardiola
Are Guardiola, Tata Martino, Mourinho and Heynckes four different role models? I can only comment on Pep’s style with background knowledge. Nonetheless, there are common elements between them: huge dedication to their work and a large dose of ambition. In Mourinho’s case, I’d add a total lack of doubt.
What is at the core of the Guardiola Method? Common sense is the cornerstone. This means having the capacity to take people into account before making your own decisions—but on the other hand, it doesn’t mean you are entitled to please everyone. A clear example of this is the way Pep promotes team unity.
What factors have influenced the success of this method? In Barcelona, the knowledge and familiarity Guardiola had of his environment was key. Essentially, the success to his method lies in Pep’s fundamental values and his technical skill. Of course, luck at key moments is also an important factor, but it would be unfair to put Pep’s achievements down to chance.
You’ve written that that “highly efficient organisations must also be highly effective”. Perhaps hugs and kisses don’t work with the Germans. What have they been replaced with? The cultural code is different but there are also non-Germans on the Bayern team. Of course, none of the players are robots, ergo they feel emotions. Managing them well, creating internal solidarity and unity, and at the same time, taming the most unruly egos are all within Pep’s reach.
You say that “it is seduction and not force that liberates energy and commitment”. Is the seduction technique used with Bayer de Munich different than the technique used with Barcelona? Essentially it’s the same, just a change of language from Spanish to German. Guardiola is studying German tirelessly because he knows that communication, as well as example, is his most powerful instrument for seducing and creating his players.
Does the Guardiola Method have an expiry date? Guardiola is constantly reinventing himself. He burns through stages quickly and his experience with Bayern de Munich is going to have a big effect on him. I think that he’s got a few surprises up his sleeve for us.
“Another year off, a foray into Great Britain or becoming president of FC Barcelona are all possibilities (for Pep).”
Knowing Guardiola’s behaviour, can you forecast his next move? I don’t think he’ll spend more than 4 years with Munich. His extremely high demands within the football realm will make it very hard for him to stay. Another year off, a foray into Great Britain or becoming president of FC Barcelona are all possibilities.
You’re a great fan of Pep, but is there anything about him that you don’t agree with? I’m fascinated by him. Pep’s a real character and someone I hold to high esteem. I cannot say from personal experience, but I have been told that on occasion he has an obsessive personality and that he is an over-the-top perfectionist. There are times of deception when his strong character devours the person he is. I have seen and experienced incidents where he is not as generous with his courtesy as one would hope. It’s as if Pep is humble in an inconsistent manner and within this state, sudden fits of temper easily arise on account of some unresolved internal conflicts. However, no one is perfect and I admire Pep greatly.
Miguel Ángel Violán is a journalist, writer and communication trainer with over 35 years of experience within commuactions. In 2010, he published the first edition of “The Guardiola Method: why leaders with common sense get uncommon results”, where he analyses the values of Pep Guardiola from a sociological, psychological, and a leadership culture and management point of view. Violán has a profound knowledge of Guardiola and the “Barca” phenomenon, often lecturing about this topic worldwide. The book is now available in Spanish, Catalan, German, Slovenian and Japanese. It will shortly be published in English and Italian.
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