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Leadership requires role models and coaches who can inspire other people and followers. Many people would like to learn from the most successful leaders in their societies. One of the people who have done so much in the field of sport is Alexander Chapman Ferguson. The paper would discuss personal, academic, and achievement perspectives of his leadership.
Alexander Chapman Ferguson’s birth was in the year 1941, at Glasgow in Scotland. His parents were Alexander Beaton Ferguson and Elizabeth Ferguson. He attended Broomloan Road Primary School, and later Govan High School (Hawkins, 2011). He supported Rangers.
At the age of sixteen, Ferguson started playing for Queen’s Park as a striker. Although he was just an amateur, he scored and led his team to victory (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). His team also suffered a major defeat to Queen of the South. He managed to score over fifteen goals in his thirty-one games for Queen’s Park. He later moved to St. Johnstone in 1960 and continued with his scoring streak. His best performance at St. Johnstone led Dunfermline to sign him in 1964. It got him a ticket to become a full-time professional footballer. He became the top goalscorer in the Scottish league with 31 goals. He also played for Falkirk Forest where he became a player-coach. The new manager removed him from coaching to concentrate on playing. He moved to Ayr United. It was his last team as a player in 1974.
He started his managerial career at East Stirlingshire in June 1974. He did the job as a part-time manager, and many of his players regarded him as a disciplinarian. In the same year, he moved to a bigger team called St. Mirren. He managed the team for four years. He transformed the team, leading it to be part of the lower half of the old second division. They improved to the first division champions in 1977. He discovered many talents at the club. However, this was the only club that sacked him claiming that he had breached the contract.
He later joined Aberdeen as a manager in 1978. Some of the players were older than him, and he had some challenges earning their respect. It led to failing to win the Scottish League Cup final (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). But he managed to work around the problem and led the team to win the league for the next season (Northouse, 2010). The win that caused both Celtic and Rangers, the long-term winners, to lose the match caused him to earn the respect of his players. The success of the Scottish League led his team to qualify for the European Cup Winners Cup the following season (Hawkins, 2011). They went on to beat strong teams like Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. They won the Cup, and this made Aberdeen to be the third Scottish team ever to win a European trophy. In the same year, they also beat Hamburg 2-1 in the European Super Cup. They also retained the Scottish Cup in the same season by beating Rangers 1-0.
A Progressive Career
Due to his great performance even in the following season of 1984, he became an important coach to the team. Other teams also wanted him to coach them. The Queen also knighted him as the Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1984 honor’s list on her birthday. The Rangers and Arsenal also offered him the manager’s job during the same season. The Scottish national side included Ferguson to be among its coaching staff in 1986. He continued to get offers from other clubs to join them as their manager, but he continued to turn down those requests (Kouzes & Posner, 2012).
He motivated his team for success (Hawkins, 2011). He also introduced better payment for his players so that they can stay focused on the team and work harder. He had proven to be a good player in the early years of his career. It acted as a motivation for the team. They knew there were medals and trophies to win if they performed better. They also knew that they would become the famous team (Northouse, 2010).
Principles and Values
Ferguson took over as manager of Manchester United when the team was second from bottom in the league. He instilled discipline in the team until they started improving and finished the season in the eleventh place. Ferguson started working on the discipline of the individual players. He knew that a disciplined team would follow his guidance to produce good results (Hawkins, 2011). Every time he encountered discipline and rebellion, his team lost because they could not work together. His most important attribute to every club that he trained was discipline and teamwork.
The first game they played against Oxford United they suffered a 2-0 defeat. The next game was with Norwich City and drew 0-0. However, he recorded his first win at home. They continued to play and improve steadily. But the turning point was when they played with Liverpool, and defeated them. Their confidence went a notch higher, and they were determined to perform better. The team started attracting skilled footballers due to its improvement in the league (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). The new players worked with the team so well that Manchester United finished second in the season behind Liverpool. Alex Ferguson had gotten his former assistant at Aberdeen to come to Manchester for the same position. Archie Knox became his assistant at the Old Trafford.
Response to Challenges
The 1989- 1990 proved to be one of the most difficult seasons. They lost so many matches that the consideration for sacking him was imminent. Especially the December of 1989 season, Ferguson called it the darkest period of the game. Manchester United winded up the decade just outside the relegation (Hawkins, 2011).
During one of the friendly matches, Ferguson, and his assistant played and scored for the team. He discovered that, to get good players and retain them, he had to pay them well. It boosted their self-esteem, and this improved their performance (Beauvais, David-Blais, & Shukla, 2013). During this season, Manchester City beat them. Instead of sacking him, the directors agreed that there were other setbacks like injuries among key players. They were also happy that he had reorganized the team. Even though there were several losses, they could still trust him to lead the team.
The losses did not affect his trust in the players (Hawkins, 2011).He continued to build the team, even when there seemed to be poor performances. Expectations were high that Nottingham would beat his team. It would lead to his sacking. Surprisingly, they won the game 1-0. It saved his career. He was able to win the trust of the people who had grim expectations about his ability to beat his predecessors’ records. There were good performances in the season.
Ferguson became the first winner of the Premier League Manager of the Month award. The introduction of the award came in the 1993-94 season. But the 1994-95 games proved to be a little bit difficult for the team. They drew 1-1 with West Ham United in the finals. They also lost the Football Association Cup to Everton. Everton beat them 1-0 (Hawkins, 2011).
He trusted the young players he had signed up and thought that he could work with them to improve the team for the future (Hawkins, 2011). Gary Neville, Phil Neville, and David Beckham, and among others were Fergie’s Fledglings. It was a name they acquired due to their age and determination for the team. They suffered some defeats but went on to win the league title.
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They won the 1996 FA Cup. Some of the players like Cantona came back to the team. They won several trophies in the following season. Alex Ferguson recognized Keane’s contribution to the team’s success during the season (Hawkins, 2011). He valued great performances. They also won the 1999 Union of European Football Associations Champions League against Bayern Munich.
Ferguson was very happy with the results and upon their arrival in Manchester, huge crowds lined up the streets to welcome them home. Their performance led them to get an invitation to play in the Intercontinental Cup. They also entered the Club World Championship, which took place in Brazil. They had to withdraw from the FA Cup. I find Sir Alex to be an extraordinary leader. He never concentrated on the defeats. He worked and lived for the next day’s success (Hawkins, 2011). He applied the transformational leadership skills. He chose goals and moved his team to follow through even in the most difficult situations (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). He was able to work with players who had some discipline cases and managed to win their trust.
The Results of His Achievement
The club became the fourth side in history to retain the title for the fourth time. He became the longest serving manager of Manchester United from 1986 to 2013. He spent the twenty-six seasons as the club manager (Hawkins, 2011). He helped the club to win the English League titles and twenty-five other domestic and international trophies. The total number of titles that Sir Alex has won during his football career is forty-eight. He has many records in the British football history. Being one of the most successful coaches and the manager of Manchester makes him a great leader. I started loving the team ever since I was young because of Sir Alex’s great leadership talents (Hawkins, 2011).
I have learned that to become a great leader; one has to start nurturing that talent slowly. Once one does the right thing, people notice the small steps of success and begin to engage the leader in their activities. Discipline and obedience are also important attributes when working with a team. Defeat in one’s career does not end a career. One must ensure that his or her team is working to attain the goals.
Beauvais, C., David-Blais, M., & Shukla, R. (2013). Ethical leadership and contemporary challenges. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters Publishers.
Hawkins, P. (2011). Leadership team coaching. London: Kogan Page.
Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2012). Leadership practices inventory. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.
Northouse, P. (2010). Leadership: Theory and Practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.