Jurgen Klopp: Five lessons in leadership
Written by Simon Austin — May 30, 2019
BEFORE leading his side into their second straight Champions League final, manager Jurgen Klopp has been explaining his leadership philosophy.
In a fascinating interview with club sponsor Western Union, which you can watch below, the German laid out his five key tenets of leadership.
Jurgen Klopp: Confidence is very important for a leader. I know I am really good at a few things, and that’s enough.
But my confidence is big enough that I can really let people grow next to me, that’s no problem. I need experts around me. It’s also really important that you have empathy, that you try and understand the people around you and give them real support.
That’s what leadership is - you have strong people around you with better knowledge than you; you don’t act like you know everything; and you're ready to admit that you have no clue in a particular moment.
I have a lot more information than I give to the players. Not because I want to keep it, but because they have to play a football game and you have to play with freedom.
In the beginning, when a new player is coming in, I don’t give them any information. It’s like, ‘let them play’. You learn more about your players each day and how to treat them, how to deal with them.
A lot happens in the one-on-one talk, but that’s with the individual player. With the team, there are more things, and you try to help 11 players learn to do the right things in the right moment.
There are two reasons I am so energetic on the sideline. One is my character - although I am a lot calmer than I was - and the other is that I am kind of the reserve tank for the boys.
If I feel the energy level goes a bit down, then I am still there and can kick their butt, whatever they need. It is better to be angry with me than feel ‘it’s too intense today’.
You always need something to respond to - I needed it as a player as well.
All we do in life is about relationships. Otherwise, if you only want to be responsible for the things you do and not anyone else, then live in a forest alone or on a mountain alone.
When you enter a room, you have a little bit of responsibility for the mood in the room.
As a football team, we have to work really closely together. Each of our players knows the name of each person who works at Melwood.
It’s not for me to create an atmosphere in a room - each person in our team is responsible for that. It’s worked out well. We all win for each other; we do it for (kitchen staff) Carol (Farrell) and Caroline (Guest), because we know how important it is for them.
That makes it more valuable, more worthy. If you have a bigger group to do it for, it feels better for yourself.
5. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
As a leader you cannot be the last who comes in and the first who goes out. You don’t always have to be the first and last, but you do have to be an example.
I try everything to be as successful as possible. I live 100% for the boys, with the boys, doing what we can for the club.
It’s not really a philosophy, it’s just my way of life.