The Power of Trust & Identity

The power of trust and identity can be fostered by a leader who understands how to nurture and build a winning team.

This was exemplified by the Leicester City, an English football team! They won the English Premier Football League title in the 2015/2016 season after being in a relegation battle the season before – meaning that one year before they were at the cusp of being demoted to the second tier of English football!

So what changed from one year to the other? 

Why did Leister City perform so much better in their winning season compared to the year before or in any other season?

Why did they go from rock bottom of the league to worthy title winners in 2016?

Well, to start with… they changed their manager and brought in the venerable Claudio Ranieri. And, at the time they did that… many of the pundits and well respected football experts from around the world questioned that decision, smirked behind their hands or just plain laughed outright.

The fact is… nobody gave him or them a chance. You see, Cluadio Ranieri was seen by some as ordinary and by others as outdated and past his prime. Over a 30 year career as a football manager, he had managed 14 teams in almost as many countries – including some of the top clubs in Europe (Napoli, Chelsea, Valencia, Juventus, Roma, Internazionale… ). Plus he had managed the Greek national football team. In English football he was known as the Tinker Man for the failed strategies he had employed when he was at Chelsea.

But, Claudio Ranieri brought some tactical nous to Leicester. However, other managers at other clubs are able to do that.

And the other premier league football clubs in England have much, much bigger spending budgets which allows them to bring in million-dollar, highly experienced, world-class, talented players from anywhere and everywhere.

And many of the other clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea also had more long term strategic plans in place for their clubs.

But all those better, bigger, more financially “muscled” clubs lost out (by a considerable points’ margin) to Leicester City in 2016.


An argument can be put forth to the sense of TRUST and IDENTITY Claudio Ranieri instilled and inspired in his Leicesster City players.

You know, lots of football managers and pundits talk about the importance of talented individual players, playing systems, playing formations and styles of play – and, well – yes all that can be important.

But what is even more important is the sense of TRUST between the players and the overall sense of IDENTITY the players and team in general have about WHO they are and WHAT they are capable of. No… not what they have done… but what they CAN do.

Ranieri brought a sense of what was possible!

In that regard, Claudio Ranieri didn’t so much as manage Leicester City players; he released them.

He gave them permission to go out and play. He trusted them to do that… to unleash their creativity… to achieve what was possible… to fulfill their highest potential as a team!

And that trust spread out among the players.

They built an identity — a band of brothers if you like — that endured with them through the long hard season of English football and ultimately won them the Premier League title.

The lesson?

Most of the time people don’t need to be “managed” or improved — they just need to be trusted to perform at their best… to realize their fullest potential… to create and bring into being their biggest possibilities!

Claudi Ranieri gave his team a 100% grade at the beginning of the English football season and then for the rest of the season allowed his players to justify that grade! And they did!

As a leader in your organization, think about how you can use these ideas to inspire your team to succeed!


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