What We Can Learn About Leadership From The European Super League Fiasco

The announcement about the formation of a new European Super League was made.

Pretty quickly it was condemned from just about everyone.

The statements and apologies followed the decision of all 6 English clubs followed after they changed their mind.

The fact that this is about football isn’t important.

What’s interesting for me is the leadership lessons.


Because a big part of leadership is about making the right judgement calls.

Not just making the judgements, but deciding when and how to make those judgements, as well as communicating those judgements.

It seems from what’s out there in the media that there are a number of key learning points from a leadership perspective.

Test the water before you make big judgement calls

Now I don’t for a minute think that an announcement was just made out of the blue. 

Discussions have clearly been ongoing.

What’s less clear is whether there was any work going on to test the water or mood to what was being proposed.

Look at all the risks

Yes there were plenty of upsides financially for those involved.

Equally there were plenty of risks too, most of which were not financial.

When making big judgement calls it’s vital to look at both the upsides and downsides.

Build support

Like any change the big issue is that you have to take people with you.

You have to involve them.

You have to listen to their views.

You have to build support.

Don’t underestimate the power of public opinion

Yes football has changed. 

At the same time fans are the constant.

It’s all too easy to underestimate the power and impact of public opinion.

Reputation matters

Yes the clubs have issued statements.

But the damage has been done.

When I was in leadership roles in the NHS, we use to talk about the Daily Mail test when thinking about decisions.

Now it’s probably the social media test.

Always think of the reputational impact.

We all know that leading is challenging.  Making the right judgement calls is a vital part of leadership.