The recent defeat of Aberdeen Football Club by Kilmarnock sent Craig Brown’s side to the bottom of the table – the position they were in when he and assistant Archie Knox took over one year ago.  Manager Brown accepts responsibility for the club’s current plight but pointed out that his side has been ravaged by injuries, suspensions, the sale of two key players and playing the teams at the top of the table twice.

He said: ‘We lost two creative players and I think it’s fair to say we haven’t adequately replaced the creativity that they could produce for us.’  He added: ‘We’re working hard to improve the team and make sure we make a team that will give pride back to the city of Aberdeen.  I’ve had terrific support from the fans, the players and the board.  No-one could be faulted – if anyone could, it’s the management, because I accept responsibility.’ (BBC, 5th December 2011)

Craig Brown is facing a challenge many typical managers have experienced – how to organise available resources to meet the organisation’s aims and objectives.  However, from the club’s current losing position, he also needs to demonstrate key leadership skills to develop, motivate and inspire his team members to achieve a winning side.  Accepting ownership of a problem and not allocating blame is a key way of leading by example.

Tesco, the UK’s number one retailer, recognises the need to encourage and grow leadership skills within the business.  The company understands that to ensure long-term business growth, its managers need to develop the vision and skills to be able to adjust their leadership styles to meet different scenarios.  Several factors affect how a leader will approach a situation.  Urgent or business-critical factors will need a directive approach, whereas a highly experienced team might contribute to a more democratic approach, if time permits.

Tesco encourages all its managers to lead by example.  Its leadership programme seeks to build future leaders through specific training and coaching and by encouraging managers to review their own performance to identify strengths or areas for improvement.

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