image001oooooThursday, March 2nd 2017 – The tackling leader

One quiet Sunday afternoon when I was 13 or 14, nearby the fireplace, I remember my father telling me that if I wanted to go to the army, that was fine, but I should only target to be an officer, not just a simple soldier. I was destroyed. I grew up listening the World War II stories of my grandfather and watching Private Ryan on the TV.
It took me months to accept that, and by the time I did, I actually remembered the second part of his argumentation on the reason why he didn’t want me to go ahead with my initial plan. ‘I’m raising you as a leader, not as a follower.’
And here I went, making my mind that I could influence people in a way that would be very personal to me. Lead by example should be my everything. Sports, work, hobbies, it came naturally. Not being the smartest, not being the most talented, and not being the most knowledgeable. In that situation, you have to have something that no one else has. It must be like a trade-in with your manager.
I was 17, in a wet and steamy dressing room of my town’s gymnasium. First training session of the pre-season in my handball club. Sitting on my usual spot, listening to the jokes flying through the room between all the players. The manager stands in the middle of the room, and starts to discuss about the agenda of fixtures, the new shirt numbers, and plenty of other updates on the season to come. My attention switched completely from what he was saying to preparing my shoes. Crucial task, right?! And then one key word caught my attention: ‘Captain’. And my name came in the same sentence. Then everything fell into place. That was it, I was the club captain. Being one of the less talented, my stamina was about average. I guess I’m not really selling it right now. But I was the toughest, most determined and as well the most mature player of the room, and in a team full of teenagers I was the best bet to keep everyone in the right path once the game is on. The whole season went without a problem, everyone behaved under my supervision and we were by far the strongest team mentally, with an amazing team effort. That first bit of responsibility made me starving for more. I was the example, to keep everyone going I had to show the good example which actually pushed me to behave myself and to grow up.
College soccer team captain, designated leader for projects during apprenticeship, manager’s right arm during the first proper professional experience aged 21, then promoted team supervisor at the age of 22 to handle a team of people in average 5 to 10 years older than me.
I can look at a wide range of topics and yet to have the possibility to influence all of them in a way. I will never be the expert in anything, and that’s what gives me the capacity to be eligible for this kind of roles. Knowing my profile and my love for Manchester United, one of my former manager told me: ‘you will never be Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo or Scholes. You are Roy Keane’. Because while all the fancy players are scoring goals and doing amazing job, Keane was having the captaincy, shouting and throwing tackles to make sure they were playing in the best conditions.