my five leadership values
Long-term viewWhen I realised I was going to stop playing football for a living it was quite a powerful thing. It was the moment for me to consider my next move: who do I want to be as a coach? What am I going into this business for? Ultimately, what do I want from it?
And part of the answer was: I like developing, I like seeing people improve. The fact that you can impact someone’s life in a positive way – not solely because of me - but because of the environment you create, can have a positive influence and stay with people for the rest of their lives, I think that’s the most important thing.
Of course, they’re only words and it’s easy to say them, but it’s how you are every day which is key. In football you have to make decisions and choices and I think that if you have these values you can use it as a bit of a map, so if you steer off somewhere else you know you can get back.
Reliability When you’re in a leadership role, people need to know that win, lose, or draw, there has to be a consistency in how you act and behave. Rather than you win and everything is good and then you lose and everything is bad.
There has to be a consistency in what you’re doing and how you do it. I think there’s always a case that you need to be 1% unpredictable as well, just to keep people on their toes, but generally there’s a need to be consistent.
ProfessionalismI sometimes think we're in this hierarchical culture that says ‘I’m the coach and I have all the answers and I’m perfect’ and I’m totally not.
I think professionalism is about doing your best, taking responsibility for what you do, analysing what you do and trying to get better. It’s not about being perfect and having all the solutions and answers.
What we need to do is try to create an environment where the players feel empowered, confident and motivated enough to make their own decisions and stand by those, because that‘s ultimately how you can develop players and the team.
I can’t stand on the side and say “oh stop ref, I need five minutes here to talk to the team”, you’ve got to be able to develop players to be able to take those decisions.
Another aspect of this is being brave. When you have team selections or decisions around how you want to play, there’s a safe way - that may protect you - or there’s a brave way and even if it’s a 50-50 decision, you end up with the brave way because it’s one of your values. The value system can help to make decisions when there are difficult choices to be made.
Graham Potter was appointed as Brighton manager in May 2019. He has previously managed Swansea City as well as Swedish side Östersunds and recently graduated from the FA Level 5 course. Article image courtesy of Paul Currie/BPI/REX.