5 things Church leaders can learn from Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino

Ross Grindlay reveals 5 reasons why Church leaders should be taking note from Spurs manager, Mauricio Pochettino.

Whatever happens this season Mauricio Pochettino has done a wonderful job at Spurs, transforming an inconsistent side into title challengers. Over the course of this season I have seen the qualities of his leadership style and think Pastors and church leaders could learn a lesson or two….. (or five in this case!)

So here are 5 Things Church Leaders could learn from Mauricio Pochettino

1. Having A Clear Vision: Pochiettino has clearly demonstrated to his management staff and players a clear vision for what he expects from his team. He has created a team that fits into the balance and shape of his tactical approach and he is now seeing the fruits of this vision.

Spurs operate with a high defensive line closing down opponents as quickly as possible. It is a high tempo created by a Spurs team that under his leadership have developed a phenomenal work ethic. Pochiettino’s insistence on fitness training and extra training sessions has clearly paid off with Spurs making up 17 points from losing positions this season. They have also outran their opponents in most Premier League fixtures this season. The expectations on his team are clear, everybody knows what is expected of them and how they fit into the shape of the side.

I have encountered many churches who whilst having great outreach program’s, worship bands and teaching fail to demonstrate to their congregations a clear vision. This therefore does not engage with everyone or allow people to respond… which leads me onto my next point.

2. Developing Young Players/ Discipleship: Pochiettino has shown great faith in developing young players from this Spurs team. Harry Kane has come on leaps and bounds under his management as well as Danny Rose and Ryan Mason. He has also added Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Kieran Tripper into the squad and brought through youngster Josh Onomah.

Eric Dier is a perfect example of his management ability, brought in as a Centre Back he has developed him into one of the best Defensive Midfielders in Europe. Spotting that Dier’s talent might be utilised differently is a prime example of Mauricio’s man-management skills. This trust and development of young players is something I think church leaders could take notice of.

A lot of churches have invested a lot of time and finances in children’s and youth ministries but what does this lead to. I urge church leaders to show the same confidence in young Christian’s to help develop and nurture them into future church leaders. I also believe we need to invest in people more, identifying what the best role of individuals in our churches are.

3. Importance of Training/Study: I have already mentioned that Pochettino insists on extra training sessions for his Spurs team. I think churches need to take time to help training and develop their congregations beyond Sunday Services.

If we are truly to see fruit beyond the church boundaries we need to be confident of our theology and bible knowledge. Do we need extra bible study sessions, have we become complacent?

4. Being An Encourager: Pochettino continues to encourage his players and this is why I believe he has got the best out of this team. Despite the heavy training sessions this Spurs side play with a smile on their faces.

They have a mission and clear vision and are working tirelessly to reach it, but Pochiettino encourages this team so that they are confident and ready for the battle. We need more encouragers in our churches to raise up congregations for the battle.

5. Building A Dream Team: This last one is one to ponder and a real challenge to myself so I would love to hear feedback.

When Gareth Bale left Spurs chairman Daniel Levy invested the £100 million into a new team that just did not work. When Pochettino took over he started to get rid of players like Adebayor, Lennon, Soldado, Capoue and Paulinho. He replaced them with players who fitted into his team.

Recently I have been reading Bill Hybels ‘Courageous Leadership’ were he talks about the importance of having a strong team. He talks about personal experiences where someone has brought negativity into his team which has caused a lot of hurt and problems for the church. He encourages church leaders to develop a ‘dream team’. This is what Pochiettino has done and is it a challenge for our churches today. Do we have the best team leading our church. Is there ever a time when we need to let some people go in order to create a balanced team?

These are just a few thoughts from watching Spurs this season and contemplating on the church. Would love to here some feedback or other suggestions.


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