[FOUNTAIN]High hopes for a new head coachIn April 2002, about a month before the Korea-Japan World Cup, BBC Sports Online ran an interview with Bruno Metsu, head coach of the Senegal soccer team. Titled, “The secret of Metsu’s success,” the article said the Frenchman was already considered a hero in Senegal for leading the Dakar Lions to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time in history.
As the Senegal Football Federation vice president Bounamar Gueye simply put it, “Bruno’s secret is that he listens to everyone ― he listens to players, he listens to the federation and he listens to journalists.”
“I prefer an army of deer commanded by a lion over an army of lions commanded by a deer,” proclaimed Napoleon Bonaparte, who also famously said, “The word ‘impossible’ is not in my dictionary.” Just as the emperor of the French emphasized 200 years ago, the role of a lion, or a leader, is still crucial today. Therefore, scholars continue to investigate who makes the best leader.
In the 1970s, Robert K. Greenleaf identified ten characteristics of a leader, and others studied the physical and psychological marks that set a great leader apart. Some claimed that a true leader is more likely to be gentle and social instead of handsome or physically strong, and others concluded that a competent leader would have higher levels of serotonin, an antidepressant that makes people sociable and resistant to stress, in his body.
A new study of organizational behavior values the followers as much as personal leadership qualities. Even great hero material would end up an ordinary man if born in the wrong time and surrounded by wrong followers.
Mr. Metsu is now the leading candidate to coach Team Korea. He has already proven that he has the qualities required of a great leader. He emphasizes personal contact and interactions with the players. He likes to say, “I am not a policeman but a coach.” Blue-eyed, long-haired, sports coat-clad, the coach gives off a charismatic aura worthy of a philosopher or an artist.
But if we expect him to become the second Guus Hiddink, Mr. Metsu’s charismatic personality might not be enough. Without the cooperation and help of our team’s fans, the Korean Football Federation and especially the players, it might be impossible for Mr. Metsu to pull off another miracle with Team Korea.
by Lee Kyu-youn
The writer is a deputy city news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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