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The Jurgen Klopp effect and how neurodivergent people would flourish if everyone managed like him

This might be a bit of a controversial blog for those who do not support Liverpool, however you really can’t deny the buzz around that club at the moment, and it is all down to the culture and environment instilled by Klopp. 

Yesterday (24th of February) Liverpool played again Chelsea in the Carabo cup final and the odds were completely stacked against them. They were suffering with a team full of injuries and most of the starting players were on the bench injured. However, if you have watched Liverpool over the past few weeks, they do not rely on one or two players, they play as a team.

In that cup final yesterday not 1 or 2 of their academy players were played but 8 of them were and they won. They beat a billion pound team. The reason…

Well I believe there to be many reasons but the biggest one two are environment and culture.

Klopp, as he will be referred to for the rest of this blog, takes time to get to know his team. He shows appreciation and gratitude and he stays humble. You will notice he never speaks bad about his team.

The young players only 18-19 were asked how they would go into an occasion such as a cup final in a packed arena and their response was, Klopp fills us with confidence and gives us the freedom to do what we need to do. We all play the same way so everyone knows what they are doing regardless of if we play Under 18, Under 21 or the 1st team.

Klopp is a perfect example that can be followed by every manager in the world. You may think this is an exaggeration but he has built a team through consistency and belief in them.

Klopp leads by example. His character is one of caring and he is transparent and honest and people will always buy into transparency and honesty. He believes in his team and isnt afraid to bring in new talent. He is clever and sees the bigger picture. 

You see the bigger players like Mo Salah and Virgil they are all humble and they do not take credit for their individual success on a pitch they always say it was a team effort. 

For me as an employed autistic adult my best managers have been:

  • Enquiring about me, wanting to get to know me and find common ground

  • Letting me have freedom to do what I need to do

  • Trusted me

  • Provided feedback in a constructive way both positive and negative

  • Held me accountable

  • Moved past mistakes

  • Developed me through teaching me new ways of thinking

  • Giving me responsibility towards me strengths

  • Accepting me as a person

  • Defending me when I need defending

  • Having my back

  • Led by example

  • Provided a culture that is open, honest and safe

  • Treat everyone the same

In comparison my worst managers have been:

  • Over Critical

  • Judgemental

  • Treat people differently depending on how well they get on with them

  • Make inappropriate comments in a public space

  • Do not explain the reason behind their decisions

  • Treat me like a child

  • Do not show trust by constantly checking in throughout the day to see where I am up to

  • Unsympathetic

  • Not playing to my strengths

  • Giving me the most boring tasks

  • Not listening to my ideas

  • Lack of ownership for their own work

  • Will not have my back or defend me.

In my career I have had some absolutely brilliant managers, so good I have stayed at companies longer than I would have done, had I not had them.

However, I have also had some absolutely awful managers who quite honestly should not be employed as an employee with the things they have said, let alone be managers. One manager had the nickname teflon because he made sure no mistake ever stuck to him, it was always someone elses fault and it caused a lot of issues in the team. Another manager I had she, told her superior if she had to line up her team and shoot one person it would be me. Number 1, why was her manager asking her that and number 2 why was she even giving an answer.

Great people make great companies and bad managers can kill them. A lot of companies do not treat the people they employ like adults and this causes a culture of fear and resentment. Its like when you were younger and your parents were nagging you to get things done on their time. I have all done it “I asked you to do that last week, why isnt it done” or “Can you not keep your room tidy”, “have you done your homework”, “Whats with the attitude”. Did you like being nagged by your parents or not trusted when you gave an answer to a question and they didnt believe you? Did that make you want to leave home quicker or were you happy with being constantly nagged or told you need to do better?

As an autistic adult, I hate inflexibility but I do also need some flexibility to be able to manage myself in my day. I then need the accountability for if my time management has gone off track or failed to enquire it doesnt.

I find myself personally, because I am big into justice and cant stand it when people do not play by the rules. If someone is putting their trust in me and showing it, I will do everything to not disappoint them or let them down. However, if someone doesnt trust me, my brain just won't engage because I know they dont respect what I have to offer so I will likely offer less. 

So the take home from this, is give your employees freedom, with parameters and trust them. Lead from the front and demand management in between take your lead. 

Be brave in your decision making and give us a chance.


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