Five leadership lessons from Fabio Capello

The importance of understanding the mood of your team at any given moment cannot be overstated. It's your key to knowing how to move things forward. A downhearted team needs reassurance and for you to lift them up. A frustrated team needs you to talk to each of them one-on-one to find new, more exciting opportunities for them to work on. And a team with anger lurking needs to be quickly sorted out; only your emotional intelligence and those crucial few seconds listening and looking rather than just talking will tell you how best to deal with it and where the resentment really lies.

Have unwavering self-belief

Just like Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson, Capello never doubts himself - or at least if he does, he would never let anyone know. This inspires his team and fills them with confidence.

It's very simple - look at the reverse situation. If you were being led by someone who kept changing their mind, seemed nervous and ummed and ahhed constantly, would you really believe that their final decision was the right one? Would you think they had any more authority on the matter in hand then you? In short, no. So even if you do feel unsure, make like you've never been more certain in your life. It'll get the team rallying around you and believing in what you're all achieving together - which more times than not will make that decision work, whether it was the best one or not.

Change your tactics as and when you need to

Capello doesn't stick to the same knackered old game plan time after time. He switches his game and keeps it fresh, constantly conjuring up new tactics. It keeps his team alert, his game innovative, and his competitors right on the toe-tips of their studded trainers.

You need to keep innovating and trying out new strategies to succeed in business. Read blogs for inspiration with new ideas, use Twitter to gauge the Zeitgeist, and don't be afraid to experiment. As long as you haven't invested a whole year's profit and six months' work into a new idea, you've got very little to lose if it fails - but a huge amount to gain.

Make your team work hard for rewards

Capello doesn't just hand out England caps willy-nilly for a nice fuzzy feel-good factor. He only gives them to the most deserving players. While some people see this as harsh, it's actually genius. It means squad hopefuls pull out all the stops, every time they play. It's anti-slacker, anti-complacency. It works.

Do the same by making it clear to your team that promotions and bonuses are in hand, but only if they work their socks off for them. Set clear targets so they stay focused and can see the light at the end of a work-hard tunnel. Read this feature for more advice. Resist the temptation to use reward as a pick-me-up - save it for those who earn it.

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