Depending on who you ask, Jose Mourinho is probably the most loved or the most hated man in top-flight football today. In fact, he’s been called arrogant and vain about as many times as he’s been called the Special One (a name he gave himself) but no matter your views on the man, he’s a perfect example of quality leadership.
“There is no pressure at the top. The pressure’s being second or third”.
Time after time, game after game, Mourinho’s delivered results that have the fans cheering his name across the world. This year, he’s taking Inter Milan to their first European Cup/Champions League final since 1972. But then that’s what you expect from a man who approaches football like a game of chess. Even before his team takes the field, you know Mourinho has done the homework, calculated the risks, formulated a gameplan for almost any eventuality. Few people live and breathe football, like he does but that’s because few people love doing what they do as much he does.
“I enjoy the work, I enjoy every minute of my professional life.”
Watch Mourinho standing on the side of the field and you can just see his passion for the game, for what he does. And his leadership is unquestioned because those that follow him believe in him. Mourinho treats every game like a final, demanding nothing but the best at all times from his team – and giving them nothing but the best of himself. It’s a level of professionalism that is (surprisingly) very rare in the upper echelons of football.
“The crowd is magnificent, singing “F**k off Mourinho!” and so on…”
Jose Mourinho doesn’t care what you think. That’s probably the most important card in his deck. All that matters to him is the score on the board, the points on the log and the trophies in the cabinet at the end of the season. And this frees him from the doubt and the second-guessing that plagues mere mortals.
Jose Mourinho is a masterclass in what it takes to be a successful leader. He leads from the front, is unapologetic for his decisions, shares the glories with his team and displays a confidence in his abilities (and that of his team) that borders on an insufferable arrogance.
For the record: I’m a die-hard Manchester United fan and there’s no-one who comes close to coaching a team quite like Sir Alex Ferguson. That said, if Sir Alex ever retired, I wouldn’t be unhappy if Mourinho chose to call Old Trafford his home…