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Are leaders born or bred? There will always be

debate over whether leadership is a natural ability or

something that can be learned. But what is without

question is that any leader or manager, natural or

not, can be nurtured. A whole range of skills, from

mental strength, communication and empathy to

discipline and planning, must be acquired and honed

to become a successful leader, and it's a development

journey that never ends.

How are these abilities nurtured? Self-help books,

training courses, qualifications and lots and lots of

practice. But perhaps most important is influence. Ask

almost any manager about their development journey

and they will start reeling off names. Who has inspired

and enthused them over the years; who they turn to for

a different perspective; who has taught them the most

valuable lessons. And they will speak about how they,

in turn, try to pass on their knowledge to others.

How we shape up as people and professionals

is affected massively by the people around us, and

by how receptive we are to their influence. In our

cover story (page 12), Norwich City manager Chris

Hughton talks about his unusually long period of

preparation for management, saying, “I worked under

six managers as first-team coach at Spurs, so there was

always something new to learn and experience. It was

exciting to see what each new manager would be like,

how he would involve me and what I would learn.”

Working with so many experienced professionals

meant Hughton could build up his knowledge while

establishing a leadership style and football philosophy

that fit comfortably with his own personality. Simon

Grayson (page 32) also sought inspiration from a

host of people during his early career, not only past

managers such as Martin O’Neill and Brian Little, but

his parents and brother, cricketer Paul Grayson.


the Manager

, our aim is to share the inspiration

and experience of fellow managers in order to

nurture your leadership and management skills. For

example, in our Perspectives feature on page 22, we

ask professionals from a range of backgrounds how a

manager can best deal with pressure and harness it for

a better performance.

As we enter the new year and each match

becomes more critical, managers should take note.

“Ultimately, pressure always comes from within,

but that's not a fault it's a positive, because it's that

pressure that pushes you to achieve more,” says

Michelin-star-chef Tom Kerridge. And, in the words

of former Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn

manager Michael Appleton, “So long as it doesn't tip

over and make you too excitable, pressure can bring

out an inner strength and help you to realise that you

can not only face, but embrace new challenges.”

As always, let us know your thoughts.


The League Managers Association, St George's Park,

National Football Centre, Newborough Road,

Needwood, Burton upon Trent, DE13 9PD

The views and opinions expressed by contributors are their own

and are not necessarily those of the League Managers Association,

its members, officers or employees. Reproduction in whole or

in part without written permission is strictly prohibited.


Alice Hoey alicehoey1


Editor for LMA

Sue McKellar sue.mckellar


Editorial contributors

Matthew Amos, Terry Bowles, Simon Cleaves


Jim Souter jim.souter


Art director

SamBowles sam



Action Images unless stated

Head of business development

TimMunton tim.munton


Partnerships and eventsmanager

Alex Smith alex.smith


great leaders like nelson

mandela do things their

own way, but they also

learn from the mistakes

and successes of others.

page 28