We all have an idealistic view of what management is about, our vision and how we want to play our football, but we are, to a certain extent, dictated by our circumstances.
Most managers are rarely afforded the opportunity to execute their philosophies totally unless they have been recruited by a club whose philosophy and playing style is a match.
As a manager you have to focus on getting your recruitment of player’s right and this for me is fundamental to any future success.
You need a mixture of personalities in this process -artists and soldiers who can be knitted together by the manager for the common cause.
The manager’s style and substance is paramount in this process and he/she needs to have a balanced and contemporary approach to this leadership style.
Management can be a highly pressurised job, working 24/7 during any given week and without a good support staff around you it can be quiet overwhelming. These support staff need to have abilities and skills to complement your own and then allow them to use those skills and trust them to take on responsibilities.
But be warned of the Chinese whispers that occur at every club!
You have to manage these difficult situations directly and with toughness that sets an example to the rest of the squad. It is often the biggest challenges and the emotional peaks and troughs that you earn your stripes.
I started management with Crusaders FC in Belfast and this for me was a huge learning curve in my development and enabled me to interact with players on a totally different level and in a hostile atmosphere.
After brief spells with Athlone Town and Longford Town in which I learnt the skills to cope in crisis management situations, it was on to Bohemians. The job at Boh’s was very exciting but a tough one.
As a manger I believe I was always open to new methods that might help the team adapt, work more effectively and ultimately improve their performance.
I have adapted and changed since those early days and I believe this is an important skill for any upcoming manger to grasp.
I’d like to think that I was liked by the players I managed but inevitably it’s not about who likes who but getting the right results is the most important. This result based industry can de-rail manager’s philosophy as they try to win matches on a weekly basis.
I stuck to my principles at all the clubs I managed even to the extent that it cost me my job.
Owen Heary’s response to Sligo’s bad start to the season has seen him change the structure of his backroom team by bringing in two very experienced coaches to give the club and the players a different outlook on the game.
This is a bold decision but in my view has to be applauded as he has reacted to the current circumstances by making a decision, rightly or wrongly time will tell.
To be a great manager, you must have an extensive set of skills – from planning and delegation to communication and motivation.
The skill set is so wide, it’s tempting to build skills in the areas of management that you’re already comfortable with. But, for your long-term success, it’s wise to analyse your skills in all areas of management – and then to challenge yourself to improve in all of these areas.