We all could learn a lot from Jurgen Klopp no matter what our chosen field is. Liverpool’s charismatic leader has his team all but assured of winning the Premier League title this year, and he still has a wonderful chance of defending his Champions League title from last year as well.
But it’s not the titles and wins that make this German leader a force to be reckoned with now and for many years to come, it’s just plain style and substance.
In an era where coaches and managers seem to be just as concerned with becoming celebrities in their own right as their players do, Klopp focuses on team chemistry more than anything. No one man is greater than any other. And that seems like a tough task considering he has groomed no less than a half dozen of his players into absolute superstars.
But Jurgen has taken immense pride in not only keeping his players extremely happy but also extremely cohesive.
The Happy Prankster
He is a manager with an infectious smile and a penchant for locker room pranks. He has figured out that in this age of superstars, allowing anyone to tighten up and take life too seriously is a dark road that must be avoided, so he makes sure it’s impossible.
Before the Champions League final last year, Jurgen gave his underdog squad their pre-match pep talk with his shirt tucked into his fancy Cristiano Ronaldo underwear. Not a bad way to loosen the mood right before the biggest match of any of those players’ careers, which they went on to win playing the loose, fluid, and happy style of football that has come to define his squads.
Klopp regularly hides behind doorways to jump out and scare his players at practice and does just about anything else he can to force a smile when the going gets tough. You will never see him or his players without smiles on their faces at practice, and this is something he admits he prides himself on.
A Different Mindset
When it comes to player acquisition Jurgen breaks the mold again Most managers will simply try and get the hottest or most superstar player they can afford and then attempt to fit their system around the player or just make it work somehow. Jurgen is the opposite.
Klopp willingly passes on superstars who would love to come to play for him and who every other manager would be foaming at the mouth the sign. He does this not to prove a point, but for chemistry both on the field and in the locker room.
Klopp is very serious about the fact that first and foremost you should hire based on character, attitude and work ethic then comes talent. He also wants a player who shares his vision and not one who wants his vision to change to theirs. This helps keep the chemistry on the field cohesive and the character and integrity in the locker room high at all times.
Jurgen knows that he can groom a player to be their best, but for the most part you can’t teach character and integrity, that just comes with the person.
The Future is Bright
This is a man who has figured out what so many of us seem to forget, that life should be fun.
We are always trying to move onto the next best thing, but if we can stop, smile, tell a joke, work hard, and take pride in what we do, then the world is our oyster.
Players come and go, but a quality culture that everyone on the team buys into is priceless. And these are the real reasons that Liverpool will continue winning for a very long time to come.