The story of Carlo Ancelotti is an impressive one and takes us from his idyllic childhood in rural Italy to the career as the so-called "diva whisperer" of European soccer. The world of soccer is changing with the biggest clubs in the world now seen as global brands needing to keep themselves and their shareholders happy at all times. Ancelotti is known for his quiet and caring approach to management that is showcased in this book that relates his style to business leadership.
The book points out the lifespan of a business executive is far longer than that of the average soccer coach with the latter lasting around two years and the former around eight in a role. However, the leadership arc discussed by Ancelotti is just as important to a business leader as it is to a soccer coach because many similarities can be found in the two.
One of the biggest lessons to take away from reading Quiet Leadership is that Ancelotti is a man aware his role at any club may be limited to just a few short years in charge. For Ancelotti, the red flags that begin to be raised when a job is drawing to an end should be noted by every business leader and applied to their own business lives. In the modern business world, Ancelotti explains the fast movement of each global brand and the turnover of leaders is something that needs to be monitored and embraced.
The former AC Milan, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea coach explains he enters every new management role knowing he will one day be replaced so he tries to push his staff to achieve the best results for the present. Another amazing book on leadership by another successful manager and soccer coach is Leading.
Ancelotti does not differentiate between leadership and management because he feels his role is to lead his staff of coaches and players to succeed in a way that will reflect well on the entire business. For Ancelotti, the roles he has undertaken across Europe set him apart as a manager who is willing to listen to his staff to get the best out of them at all times. Another highly recommended book on management is High Output Management.
The Italian, born just outside the Parma region does not believe in an autocratic style that will become tough for his players to get along with after a short time. Instead, he creates a nurturing environment that allows him to become a popular figure among his players who must still perform well or face being removed from the team. For more perspective on management style consider reading the book FLEX.
One of the biggest issues identified by Carlo Ancelotti and his co-authors is the fact that he is determined to identify the roles of each member of the club staff effectively. One of the most important divisions in the view of the coach is that of talking to his staff in the correct way along with those who are coming into their environment on a regular basis. A philosophy shared by founder of Home Depot, Ken Langone, and discussed in his book I Love Capitalism!
Ancelotti recounts his experiences working with agents and details how he respected some and not others because of their approach to their role and how they were willing to talk to him over the course of a season.
During his time at Paris Saint Germain, Ancelotti explains the mother of midfielder Adrien Rabiot asked to talk to him as both the agent and parent of the player. As the season was already underway, Ancelotti explained he was unwilling to discuss matters with an agent, but he would talk to her as a parent concerned about the future of her son. More unique management and negotiation styles and tactics can be found in the wonderful book Never Split the Difference.
Despite his many successes, the Italian has become an expert in handling the many failures that are destined to come his way in elite sports. As business leaders, we can learn a lot from his approach to handling failure and his departures from many different roles.
For Ancelotti, the most important relationship to manage effectively is that of himself and the owner or President of a team who he must keep happy to remain in his job. Along with this, Ancelotti refuses to spend his time looking for a scapegoat or guilty person when things go wrong, instead he focuses on trying to use the relationships he has built to change paths.
The book is extremely effective in pushing forward the idea of leading in a quiet and controlled way. During his career, the Italian has taken a controlled approach to his management duties with the business sector capable of learning much about his work as a leader from the book. Comparable perspective can be found in the book Make Your Mark.
Ancelotti sees his work as focusing largely on decision-making, a part of his job that he takes seriously and as a collaborative effort. During negotiations, Ancelotti works within the confines of the borders set by the owner and President of the club to build a brand that reflects their ideas and philosophy.
This can be taken to the business sector where executives are working for shareholders or a board of directors and must keep the image of their brand at the center of all the decisions being made. The book The Messy Middle talks about how Jeff Bezos does this so well at Amazon. If you’re looking for a comparable book to this one, consider reading Principles by Ray Dalio.