The Call for Modern Leadership: World Cup Controversy
September 5, 2023

In a world where leadership is constantly under scrutiny, the recent incident involving Spain’s football chief, Luis Rubiales, and professional footballer, Jenni Hermoso, during the World Cup awards presentation has exemplified the urgent need for modern leadership. As the details of the controversy unfolded, it became clear that there was a significant contrast between Rubiales’ and later the Spanish Football Federation’s outdated leadership mindset and the values that society expects and deserves, particularly in regard to accountability. This incident serves as a timely reminder that leaders worldwide still have a long way to go before they fully embrace the profound mindset shift that is required. Additionally, this indicates to organisations globally the importance of continual leadership development programs.

Understanding the Modern Leadership Mindset

Traditionally, leadership was seen as a top-down approach characterised by authority and dominance. This model left ample room for corruption, intimidation, and exploitation. However, the modern leadership model emphasizes empathy, inclusivity, and mutual respect. The necessary shift in mindset goes beyond simply adopting new management techniques or changing one’s view of leadership roles and responsibilities. It fundamentally requires a transformation of values, beliefs, and behaviors.

So what are the characteristics of modern leadership I hear you ask? Well, every modern leader or aspiring leader should prioritise for success:

Empathy Over Authority: Modern leaders understand that their role is not just about giving orders, but about genuinely understanding and connecting with their teams. By putting themselves in others’ shoes, leaders can foster trust and create a positive work environment. Now, this is not to say that authoritative leadership styles do not have a time and place, but merely that they are one tool in the arsenal of effective leaders, not a default position.
Inclusivity and Diversity: In today’s globalised world, diversity is not just a buzzword; it is a reality. Embracing an inclusive mindset ensures that everyone, regardless of their background or beliefs, feels valued and heard.
Accountability in Leadership: Today’s leaders are expected to take ownership of their actions, and if mistakes are made, to learn from them quickly. Being adaptable and open to feedback is crucial.

The World Cup Incident: A Reflection of the Old Guard

The actions and subsequent justifications by Mr. Rubiales harkened back to a bygone era where leaders believed they were untouchable. His attempt to downplay the incident by likening the unsolicited kiss to something he’d give his daughter lacked awareness and demonstrated an inability to grasp the gravity of his actions in a public sphere. These are not exactly qualities one would seek in a job description when looking to hire the next leader or manager.

In his reactions and attempts at justification, Mr. Rubiales embodied an outdated leadership model where leaders saw themselves as invincible, often dismissing valid criticisms and failing to adapt.

Paving the Way Forward

So there are two main questions for business leaders here. Firstly, how do we implement a mindset shift to banish this behaviour as a thing of the past. Secondly, how do we create an environment which keeps the past in the past.

Addressing the first point, humans are creatures of comfort and change is often uncomfortable so effecting mindset change is never easy. We achieve this at Masters in Minds by beginning almost every change and transformation program with our ‘Be, Do, Have’ philosophy, recognising that lasting change comes from within. By starting with individuals and examining and challenging their beliefs, values, and principles, we can effectively change their behaviours, which, in turn, transforms their outcomes.

Addressing the latter, the backlash and support for Jenni Hermoso and the Spanish women’s football team reveal a rapidly evolving world that demands modern leadership. For organisations and institutions seeking to avoid similar instances within their leadership, this is a clear call to action:

Invest in Leadership Development: Regular training sessions focusing on the principles of modern leadership can equip leaders with the necessary skills to navigate today’s complex world.

Promote Open Dialogue: Foster environments where leaders and team members can freely communicate, ensuring that misunderstandings are swiftly addressed.

Celebrate Progressive Leaders: Recognise and reward leaders who embody modern values, establishing them as role models within organisations and setting a positive example.

Establish a Zero-Tolerance Policy: Place a focus on accountability in leadership by adopting stringent policies against inappropriate behavior, ensuring that leaders are held to the same standards as everyone else, without any room for improvisation or favoritism.

In conclusion, while the World Cup controversy has shed light on the shortcomings of an outdated leadership mindset, it also offers hope. The global support for the Spanish women’s team and the collective demand for accountability demonstrate that the world is ready for change.

At Masters in Minds, we wholeheartedly support the mindset shift towards modern leadership. Through our expertise in leadership development and mindset transformation, we strive to pave the way for leaders who are not only effective but also attuned to the demands of the times we live in. Follow us on LinkedInfor more content.