If ever there was an example of a triumphant ascent to the heights of success followed by a traumatic descent to the depths of disaster, then Leicester City football club is just about the best one I can think of right now.
Last season, the club won the hearts of the footballing world with their magnificent title win, hailed as the greatest in the history of the English premiership. There was even talk of a movie being made about their rise to stardom. However, this season is a different story altogether, but not just because the champions are struggling in the premier league (which in many ways was to be expected). No, it is the catastrophic decision by the men in grey suits to sack their manager Claudio Ranieri at exactly the moment when the club needed him most. That’s the disaster!
Think about it. This is the man who led Leicester City to victory just last season. This is the manager who cultivated a culture of teamwork which propelled his club to success. This is the coach who inspired optimism and belief among his players and lifted the spirits of an entire city. Now, he’s gone, dropped like a sack of potatoes, dumped like a bag of rubbish. The men upstairs lost faith in him, but their decision was wrong on many levels.
Here are three lessons we can all learn…
1) In tough times, hold your nerve
When things aren’t going well, there is always the temptation to lose nerve and bail out. This is the story of so many people’s lives today. The idea of ditching what you’ve got and replacing it with something ‘better’ sounds appealing in the moment – but it’s never wise. It’s like dealing with the symptom without ever getting to the root cause. Besides, who ever said life would be easy?
2) In trying times, honour your leaders
Leaders are easy scapegoats. Think about it, when Leicester City were winning, Ranieri was hoisted up as the best manager ever. But when they struggled, he’s the one who received the blame. Of course, leaders know only too well that blame is part and parcel of the role. But to ditch the leader in such a dishonourable way is just wrong. Contemptuousness of the past is always catastrophic for the future. In moments of panic, how easy it is to forget all the good that’s happened.
3) In testing times, keep the faith
Lets face it, it’s easy to have faith in the good times. Anyone can believe then. But it’s when life gets torrid that faith gets tested. This is when we find out what we’re really made of. For Leicester City, their loss of faith in the manager and subsequent decision to sack him may have been pragmatic – but it’s a decision that has now set an unhealthy precedent in the culture of the club which not only diminishes Leicester’s reputation but undermines future trust. Wise people will want to learn the lesson. No-matter what, keep the faith. Don’t ever stop believing. It’s more important than you can possibly imagine.