“Only true champions come out and show their worth after defeat…and I expect us to do that.” –Sir Alex Ferguson
In our modern world, those distinct individuals that have risen above the fray to become the stuff of legend seem to be fewer and farther between. Leaders and players have become a commodity…trading loyalty to the highest bidder. It is just a sign of the times. And for that reason, very seldom do we see those individuals who have become synonymous with their team, the staple of their organization.
However, today we give witness to one of those historical moments. One of the greatest coaches in professional sports took the helm at Old Trafford for one last time. After twenty-six years, thirty-eight trophies, and thirteen premier league championships…Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary manager of Manchester United says good-bye. For one last time, the fans pay homage to Sir Alex at the Theatre of Dreams. For one last time, the heart and soul of the mighty Manchester United will take the helm and leave in the fanfare of another Barclay’s Premier League championship.
“I’ve never played for a draw in my life.” -Sir Alex Ferguson
The best thing about legendary leaders and coaches… is the myriad of lessons and wisdom that they have left in the wake of their reign. As Sir Alex says a heartfelt good-bye at Old Trafford…here are a few of the lessons that we can take away from his years leading Manchester United;
Service – Sir Alex Ferguson never made it about himself. He understood that leadership in not self-serving, rather it is service to the good of the organization…the team. He did not create a Sir Alex way of doing things…he created a Manchester United way of doing things.
Trust – After twenty-six years at the helm of Manchester United and with all of the wisdom and knowledge he had accumulated…he made it clear that he trusted his players…he trusted his team. And as a teammate, that is all you can ask from your leader…that they believe in you to do the job you have been entrusted to do. And for that reason, he got the very best from his players.
Relevant – Over twenty-six years of service and leadership as a coach…Sir Alex never became stagnant. He understood that the game was constantly changing and he made sure that his leadership and coaching stayed relevant to those changes. Sir Alex was constantly revamping and recasting his coaching and leadership skills for a changing game and world.
Expectations – For Sir Alex…it was about doing the work. If you wanted to be the best then you need to put in the work that will take you to the top of your game. He had those expectations for himself…and he held those same expectations for his players.
Humble – Even though Sir Alex Ferguson had tremendous aura and star quality as one of the greatest coaches of one of the greatest teams in history…he never made it about himself. He never overextended himself or his personality in a way that got in the way of the players, the team, the organization, or the game.
Passion – Sir Alex Ferguson approached the game with passion. And he brought out the passion in his players and the fans alike. He never lost his love for the game. He never lost passion to be the best…he always strove to improve and get better.
“I like to tell different stories and use my imagination. But generally, it is about our expectations, their belief in themselves, and their trust in each other.” -Sir Alex Ferguson
Over the last twenty-six years, Sir Alex Ferguson set the benchmark in coaching as a leader of one of the greatest teams in the world of sports. He led some of the greatest players in the game and always found ways to get the best out of them.
“There is no room for criticism on the training field. For a player…and for any human being…there is nothing better than hearing ‘well done’. Those are the two best words ever invented in sports. You don’t need to use superlatives.” -Sir Alex Ferguson