Early Leadership Experiences …

… or what lessons I learned from the team sport of football.

I grew up in a district league club, played my way into the “first team” via the youth teams and scored goals, scored many goals. Even today, I am greeted by my former teammates as the “fastest striker the team has ever had” when I show up at the sports field during one of my visits to my parents’ house. And that’s nice. I feel how I have actually left my mark, even remembered thirty years later.

My educational move to university and the associated change of location were the basis for a necessary change of the club. Bezirksliga, my dream back then. A professionally and aesthetically designed football pitch, on which technique and passing accuracy came into their own much better than on the football pitches at that time in the district leagues. But it was a rocky road to the starting eleven.

My – retrospectively considered – recipe for success from back then.

✳ I had a good coach, lucky me. I probably also noticed that he was under high pressure of expectation and could not always clear his mind just for me. But there were moments when he took time for me. Not necessarily in his expectation that I should become one of the pillars of the first team, but with the promise that I should get my chance. These moments, as rare as they were, I had searched for and found, sometimes even created.

✳ I wanted to make some friends in the team by recognizing my qualities as a preparer who is able to stage them in such a way that it could develop towards scoring a goal. They should also want to see me in the team.

✳ I had agreed to take over the U14 of the club as coach. Although this was due to my objective of wanting to get my football coaching license, it was also a wise and intuitive decision as my most important instrument for support outside the field. Because the players of my U14 team were my most loyal and vocal supporters, not only at home games, but also away from home.

It was a difficult road to the starting eleven. In addition to footballing skills, the following factors played a paramount role.

1️⃣ I made sure that the coach (the boss) perceives me, understands and wants to understand me, and recognizes my strengths.

2️⃣ I actively made sure that the team integrated me benevolently.

3️⃣ I developed a bond with the outside world (with the fans and the spectators) because I knew that off-field support would greatly improve my performance on the pitch.

➡ These are activities that can also come into their own when changing the professional environment, right?

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