A few days ago, Real Madrid was proclaimed champion of the Champions League (for the 14th time in its history) and has also won its 35th national league quite reliably. It has been an extraordinary season for the team led by Carlo Ancelotti. Not even the most staunch Madridistas dreamed of such a successful season. In addition, it meant the 4th Champions League for the coach and he also became the first coach to conquer the 5 major leagues in Europe.
And in my opinion, one of the greatest architects of such a successful season for Real Madrid has been Carlo Ancelotti. His leadership has been key to achieving such outstanding success against all odds. It is a clear vindication of senior talent as Carlo has just turned 62 years old.
ANALYZING HIS WAY OF LEADING, I HIGHLIGHT THE FOLLOWING KEYS:
- THE TEAM ABOVE EGOS: Carlo has managed the egos very well. In his squad this year he has had players not as self-centered as other stars of the past. In addition, the players who were the best at each moment have played. Big-name stars like Bale or Hazard have barely played. Carlo has opted for meritocracy to make his lineups.
- VETERANS AND YOUNG PLAYERS: As Real Madrid’s anthem says Ancelotti has known how to mix youth and experience, combining highly acclaimed players in the final stretch of his career, with young players yet to be consecrated.
- EXCELLENT COMMUNICATOR: I have always said that it is impossible to be a great coach if you are not a great communicator. And Carlo in this sense is out of series. Elegant with his words, friendly, and with a touch of humor, he dominates press conferences like no one else. He always avoids conflict and controversy and knows how to represent the club elegantly.
- VALUES ALIGNED WITH THE CLUB: I think it is essential that the values of a professional are aligned with the values of the entity in which he works. In this sense, at Real Madrid, calm, conciliatory coaches have always had good results, in the style of Vicente del Bosque or Zinedine Zidane. Carlo is far removed from the leadership style of most of his professional colleagues, more characterized by his aggressiveness and histrionics. But it is that style that has earned him the appreciation and recognition of many of his followers.
- ABILITY TO ADAPT: in a world as changing as the current one, it seems essential to me to have the ability to adapt. And in this sense, Ancelotti has known how to change depending on the situation of his team and the rival in front of him. He contrasts with other much more dogmatic coaches who bet on his fixed ideas and are not able to change them. He has been changing the system, the tactics, and the players depending on many aspects. His ability to adapt has been key.
- QUIET: as the name of his own book indicates, Ancelotti is committed to quiet leadership. He shuns conflict and avoids unnecessary controversy. He doesn’t like to create tension. On the contrary, he tries to assume the maximum pressure so that the players can carry out their activity in the calmest way possible.
- CLOSENESS: Carlo is above all a close person. He likes to be close to his players, talks to them, and gets to know them not only in football but also personally. The same happens with other professionals of the entity, from the president to the kit man. In the celebrations for the titles, he has been very close to everyone, dancing, singing and having a magnificent relationship with all the team’s professionals.
- HUMILITY: After some notorious defeats, Ancelotti has assumed failure in the first person. He has taken the blame for it and taken it away from the players. In successful games, he has given all the credit to the players and has managed to be in the background discreetly. Carlo is a humble person who knows how to give his players confidence, who assumes failure as his own and in successes leaves the players as the true protagonists of what has been achieved.
I end with a quote that perfectly sums up the essence of Carlo Ancelotti. “2 things define you, your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have it all”.
* I recommend his book “Quiet Leadership”.