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29.11.2019

This column is all about creating analogies between football and business, Here, like at companies, there are leaders and people who lead are a major success factor. In football clubs, the coach is the most important leader, actually the title should be head coach, because unlike in the times of Otto Rehhagel, there’s quite a large team of staff behind the team which is led by chief trainer Florian Kohfeldt. It’s really interesting to look at these two times — Werder today compared to the Werder of yesterday, if you compare them in terms of leadership.

Otto Rehhagel was the “king of Bremen” and he only had one assistant at his side and his leadership motto was “everyone here can say whatever I want!” In fact, Otto was actually a good king who was full of passion and who valued his players and not only because he used the formal word for you to us (editor’s note: there are two forms of you in German, one more formal and respectful, and the other one informal). He was charismatic and had a good sense of humor and that really won us over when he talked to us and he regularly made us laugh.

Otto Rehhagel said, “the most important thing about being a coach is dealing with people!” I believe that is a very modern summary of leadership and a good basis for leading change processes in companies, too.

The coach of today’s Werder team, Florian Kohfeldt, finds the right balance between closeness and distance to his players, he is a great communicator internally as well as externally, and despite his young age, he has managed to win over all the players thanks to his competence and creativity in terms of tactics.

 

When Florian was voted trainer of the year in the spring, the only thing I could say was, “Didi Hamann is praising him, my wife likes him — he must be pretty good!” As you can see, I’m a fan of the leadership qualities of both Otto Rehhagel as well as Florian Kohfeldt. That’s because in my view although one held the job 40 years after the other, they both have some things in common. Both are interested in the players as people. Both are unbelievably passionate and emotional when it’s about the game and both have an amazing feeling for how to build a great team out of individual players.

 

Otto Rehhagel said, “the most important thing about being a coach is dealing with people!” I believe that is a very modern summary of leadership and a good basis for leading change processes in companies, too.

 

Marco Bode: head of the SV Werder Bremen Supervisory Board and European football champion

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