It is okay to crawl, then crawl again, before walking, and then running

Gareth Southgate, the manager of England’s men soccer team has perhaps the hottest coaching job in the world – especially during major international tournaments. When Gareth was appointed in 2016, a BBC reporter opined: “He knows what the England job entails after close contact with the likes of Roy Hodgson and Sam Allardyce and has clearly developed a taste for the pressures after his time in interim charge.”

Gareth’s first major test was in the summer of 2018 at the FIFA World Cup games in Russia. While expectations were mixed, the coach performed exceedingly well by leading England to their first spot in the semi-finals in decades. In the process, the coach who was before the tournament regarded as a novice was hailed as a national hero.

When Gareth’s next major test arrived, in the form of the ongoing European championship, the expectations were even higher. If the English national team were a newborn baby, they were expected to “crawl” in their first game against Croatia. Although England won against Croatia, the single goal margin was unconvincing. Perhaps, that was their crawling stage.

Their “walking stage” was expected to come in their next match – against Scotland. In that game, England’s performance was lackluster, and they were lucky to escape an onslaught by the Scotland team who deserved to win. To many, England disappointed – they crawled and did not walk when expected. In the next three games, like a newborn, England’s development took off to new heights – they cruised through their next three matches and instantly became the tournament’s favorite.

In the process, the team crawled, then crawled again, before walking and then running.

As leaders, it is okay to repeat certain steps – so long as it makes us and our teams better in the end. It is okay to start slow – but do not relax your momentum. It is okay to prepare and prepare again for an upcoming presentation. In fact, you can repeat your crawling stage if that prepares you to not fall once you start walking.

Share the baby steps you have taken today as a leader.

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