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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Leadership: Creativity and Violence

In August 1996 the author negotiated and was given total access to a professional football club to research Leadership and Motivation throughout the coming season. At the end of that period, the contract was re-drawn to work with the manager in a role consultancy mode, and at a later date extended to work with individual players and the entire team, as was felt necessary. This paper is based on the experiences and findings of this ongoing consultancy intervention and is applied to that experience throughout. In general terms, the paper seeks to offer an analysis of leadership in the highly demanding and anxiety provoking environment of professional football. More specifically, it looks at that aspect of leadership of the football manager that concerns the struggles associated with his process of managing the boundary between what is inside and what is outside. In particular, it explores the impact of creativity and violence from the perspectives of both the manager and the dynamics of the team as a whole. In doing so, it explores the complex interplay of individual and task boundaries and the effect on other team members of violence accompanying the creative drive of an authority figure.The paper will start with a brief discussion of the theoretical concepts regarding leadership and creativity which underpin the views developed. I will then discuss something of the football environment before turning to the world of the manager and the various roles that he must take up as team manager. This will be followed with a more detailed application of the managers leadership role based on the consultancy experience.