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Klopp: Bring the Noise – The art of great leadership

Jurgen Klopp,manager in Liverpool,book from Honigstein

​Build superior change capabilities to unleash your company's full potential. It was just what the German Jürgen Klopp did when he came to Liverpool Football Club in October 2015. He showed up with a smiling face and then everything was set. The supporters could immediately feel his presence. Reading Raphael Honigstein’s book “Klopp: Bring the Noise” was for me a big revelation and inspiration about what I will call a great leadership of human change. 

Image. "Bring the noise": the book about the football manager, reformator and great leader Jürgen Klopp by Raphael Honigstein. 

Jürgen Klopp left Germany "with licence to change" for one of the England's most challenging jobs: to be the manager in Liverpool Football Club, once a mighty club that had not managed sustained success since the 1980s. How did actually Klopp dealed with a such a “impossible mission”? What options did he have to make to club successful again? As my former boss told me, who is an expert in Project Management: “don`t take any missions you aren`t unable to complete”. How can you then set the scene and reduce the risk? Start to complain, for example demand more funds for buying new players? Or think offensive: just build superior change capabilities to unleash your company's (the club) full potential: focusing on only football! 

Klopp was made for Liverpool and Liverpool was made for him. It was a perfect match. And a game changer. The Klopp effect was enormous, and lasting!  I could not think of a more rewarding reading about leadership than this book. Jurgen Klopp is Liverpool's legendary manager Bill Shankly reincarnated in a "German body", said the club's former great goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar after the Reds won their first league title in 30 years (year 2020). Jürgen Klopp described himself as the “Normal One” as he was introduced at Anfield and said he hoped to play “full throttle” football and build something “special”. But for me one thing stands clear: Klopp is not like everybody else!

Jurgen Klopp's first Liverpool press conference: "I am the normal one"
Watch the best quotes from Jurgen Klopp's first press conference as Liverpool manager (October 2015), including his reference to Jose Mourinho's "special one" quote. Another quote is: "It's not so important what people think when you come in, it's what people think when you leave". Notice also his strong vision about the future for the club.

This is not a wonderful fairytale, but a real story about how Jürgen Klopp brought Liverpool Football Club to victory. Raphael Honigstein, author of Das Reboot and Bundesliga correspondent for the Guardian, has interviewed Klopp and followed his career since his early years, and better than anyone knows how to tell about Klopp`s amazing achievement. Honigstein takes us behind the scenes at in the club and tells an amazing story how Klopp transformed football, people, culture, organisation, and environments. It`s about handling an extremely demanding job, making people believe and being patient. The last thing was not easy for the supporters. How much time would they give the new manager?

Klopp opened a new chapter in Liverpool`s successful history. He was very much welcomed. Liverpool supporters considered Klopp as their saviour. His game plan demands relentless commitment-the famous gegenpress, and he is one of the great personal motivators in all sport, but as I read in the book his influence goes far beyond that: Klopp is an important role model in terms of leadership. He is a transformational leader, not only for changing the way the team played, but also for his strong influence on the whole organisation, culture, and environments. Pursuing collective goals. Not forget how Klopp with his enthusiasm and charisma, strengthened the bond between the club and the community. Klopp become a unifying force. He demonstrated excellent ability to win the hearts and minds of the both the media and people. Liverpool fans found quickly a new favourite song to sing on Anfield stadium and this one is a special tribute to manager Jurgen Klopp:
"Jürgen Klopp Klopp Klopp!
He`s the new king on the Kop!
Jürgen Klopp Klopp Klopp!
He will take to the top!"

Without doing things differently, Liverpool Football Club would be unlikely to succeed. What Jurgen Klopp has achieved so far in the club has been considered by many as a miracle. It seems to be, but first and foremost it`s about a person who has proven his skills. The most important in "The Klopp Way" is building relationship. As we can learn from this is that success doesn’t just happen out on the pitch on a match day: it begins with the creation of a winning environment and attitude at every level of involvement – not just among the players.

For those of who want to learn more about how to build a winning team, and an extraordinary workplace, there are so many things to pick up in Honigstein’s book. This lesson gave me more than any scientific article, report, White Paper, analytic model and framework could provide. The book shares a fascinating case study of a successful management – full of practical tips - especially the “Liverpool part”. In my opinion, as mentioned, the most important is about Klopp`s human-centred leadership, empathic, and how he takes care of the people he is in charge. Klopp dont`t buy superstars. He makes them. For they who work as manager, or have ambitions to be one, can use this book as a practical guide to leadership, and even better: it`s based on best practice.

LFC recognised for its authentic inclusion across the club 
Liverpool FC has been recognised as an Includability Committed Employer, for its dedication to making the club a fair and inclusive place to work: "Inclusive Workplace". 
Source: Liverpool Football Club
Published 28th December 2022. 

Watch an extended interview with Liverpool FC manager Jürgen Klopp from his home, as he speaks about the current social distancing guidelines, and how he and his team are adjusting to them. It`s in spirit of the song You`ll Never Walk Alone. Klopp consider himself as a solution oriented person. By watching this interview you will also understand that he has a “big warm heart too”.
Jürgen Klopp Exclusive: “We have to work together to play our part
Published on YouTube 27th March 2020.

How is Jurgen Klopp a role model?
But Klopp is not only a great coach and manager, he is also an inspirational leader and role model. He is determined, ambitious, always smiling and a great team player and motivator. Without further ado, here are five lessons that we can learn from.
Source: Porsche AG, 17th September 2019.
5 Things We Can Learn from Football Manager Jürgen Klopp
Saad Azza analyzes 5 lessons we can learn from football manager Jürgen Klopp concerning leadership, organizational behavior and decision making processes.

Jürgen Klopp personal oriented approached has been a key factor for Liverpool Football Club`s success after he become the manager. With people "people first" focus he took the club to a new level. From the start he involved everybody in the club, building the "Liverpool family", and also quickly learned the names of 80 members of the staff at the training ground Melwood. There are plenty of revealing moments in the book that makes it a must-read for any fan of Klopp and his gegenpressing football: intensively attacking soccer powered by passion. He used the term "heavy metal football" to describe his philosophy. 

In the book I was excited to read about Klopp’s role in Liverpool’s famous comeback win against Borussia Dortmund in 2016. It`s amazing how he inspired the players, but most amazing was how he involved the supporters in the end of the dramatic match. It was described as "an out of body experience".

Liverpool 4 -3 Borussia Dortmund: Klopp adds his own magical European night to our rich history
Source: 14th April 2016 | Anfield Online.
“With 13 minutes remaining the French international headed in from a cross to equalise. 4-4 on aggregate. But the minutes ticked by and Dortmund were going through on away goals. The assistant held up the board. 4 additional minutes. The Kop sang You'll Never Walk Alone one more time. And so in came James Milner's cross and in arrived Dejan Lovren - who headed the winner in stoppage time to send Anfield in to a frenzy.”

German media in awe of Jürgen Klopp-inspired Liverpool
Source: 15th April 2016 | The Guardian

  • ‘Football was invented for nights like these’ says Bild
  • ‘Klopp has made his energy rub off’ says Süddeutsche Zeitung

… Spiegel Online, too, was taken in by the atmosphere at Anfield: “It can come across a bit strange when footballers evoke magical powers and make it seem as if not their own mistakes but supernatural powers had brought about a defeat.”

The lesson from this man and the manager Klopp is something to bring with you further in life. It`s about leading a workforce of the future: truly inspired by a mindset of passion, innovation and growth. Great leadership is not about control. It`s about empowering people. The players trust Klopp and he trusts them. He builded psychological safety by creating the right climate, mindsets, and behaviors within his team. While the benefits of psychological safety were well established, by developing specific skills, he created a safer and higher-performance work environment. Klopp likes to call players in his team for "mentality monsters" as their refusal for never giving up. Play the high-octane pressing game is his template: it`s based on 30 percent tactics and 70 percent teambuilding. 

Don`t expect better result with doing things in the same old way. Did the former leaders in Liverpool Fotball Club pay too much attention to the former and not enough on the latter? Humans naturally resist change, but change was unavoidable at that time Klopp showed up in the club. He was very much aware its context, several kind of internal and external stakeholders, and process. By overlooking these issues he had probably failed quickly. There are so many words that start on "C" that I believe he kept in mind when starting a his succesfull change process: Courage (to Change), Communication, Clarity, Connection, Capability, Creativity, Colloborate, Commitment, and Culture. There is an another word on "C"  that i think describes Kopp very good too: as the German midfielder Emre Can once said when he played in Liverpool (2016): "Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp is "crazy"  - and we are driving our opponents mad. I knew before that he was a little bit crazy - positive crazy - and that is how he is."

How has Jürgen Klopp changed Liverpool?
Upon his arrival in Liverpool, among the many things he did to change the culture was to tell his players that they were not allowed to take part in a long-standing tradition at the club: when players walk through the tunnel to get out on the pitch at Anfield, their home ground, all Liverpool players touch the sign above their heads that reads “This Is Anfield.” Klopp is reported to have said, “I’ve told my players not to touch the ‘This Is Anfield’ sign until they win something”.

First of all Klopp changed the peoples’ mind from doubters to believers, and then he strengthen the team spirit and boosted energy into the club to pursue its goals. “I realised that our system made us beat teams that had better players,” Klopp said in his early managerial carrier. “He made our results independent of our talent, to an extent.” That quote is Klopp’s managerial career summed up in a line. The big challenge was to compete with more rich clubs in the world: he had to think smarter. The best way to do that is producing consistently more with his squad than the sum of its parts. He also demonstrated the power of kindness with smiling, laughing, inspirational interviews, and hugging. Klopp is consistently hugging all his players after each game. With him as a manager, "You`ll Never Walk Alone". He is wellknown for meeting everybody on his way with friendliness and respect. He is a person who shows that he really cares, treats players as equals and shares as much in their personal lives off the pitch as in their football.

Jurgen Klopp on team spirit, the power of a hug and enjoying football:
Source: Extracts from This Is Anfield, 18th September 2016.

“I enjoy it more,” he said, when asked about the importance of hugging his players. “I’m really demanding to be honest, and I really want a lot of them. When you can really see how they fight, with the last drop of fuel in their machine … that’s the most easy thing to do (hug them). “That’s what makes it for them more enjoyable. Now, having something like this in the dressing room and seeing them there all smiling … that’s really nice.”

Asked if he was feeling the love at Liverpool, Klopp replied:
“All good, all good. We are together, and we want to go this way together. “The more we believe in our way, the more likely it is we can go through whatever it will lead us to. I have no idea, but I think it makes football much more enjoyable when you really feel this togetherness because we are often enough alone. I love this really.

”We feel on a good way, but we have to prove it. We have to prove it every day, and that’s our job,” Klopp added.

Referred from the Raphael Honigstein`s book “Klopp: Bring the Noise”:
“Motion and motivation have the same Latin root. One cannot exist without the other.”

I found this information about Klopp on Internet:

Why is Klopp so good? 
Klopp believes in "a playing philosophy that is very emotional, very fast and very strong". People who are exposed to an environment of fear experience poor outcomes. Klopp understands this and sets out what he expects of players and staff, but then gives them autonomy to take risks as they see fit.

What makes Klopp a good leader?
The foundation for high performance and effective teams involves building trust, and Klopp has defined his transformational leadership style with high energy, championing accountability, communicating clearly and showing emotional intelligence.

What is so special about Jurgen Klopp?
The foundation for high performance and effective teams involves building trust, and Klopp has defined his transformational leadership style with high energy, championing accountability, communicating clearly and showing emotional intelligence.

So, what is really change leadership related to Jurgen Klopp? I found a definition on the term on Internet that I think perfectly describes Klopp`s leadership – see below:

Change leadership is a proactive approach to change management, where change is seen as an opportunity for growth and improvement rather than a finite project. Change leaders create an inspiring vision, and advocate for that vision throughout the organization. Change leaders take a people-centric approach. They consider how change affects employees, their processes, and their tools. They work alongside company leaders, HR, and employees to successfully integrate the change rather than impose it.
Source: Eagles Flight
For more reading: “What Do Change Leaders Do Differently?

Task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership 
The task-relationship model is defined by Donelson Forsyth as "a descriptive model of leadership which maintains that most leadership behaviors can be classified as performance maintenance or relationship maintenances. Task-oriented (or task-focused) leadership is a behavioral approach in which the leader focuses on the tasks that need to be performed in order to meet certain goals, or to achieve a certain performance standard. Relationship-oriented (or relationship-focused) leadership is a behavioral approach in which the leader focuses on the satisfaction, motivation and the general well-being of the team members. Task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership are two models that are often compared, as they are known to produce varying outcomes under different circumstances. Source: Wikipedia.

This is a club that has, since Klopp’s arrival in October 2015, become accustomed to winning, to competing for the title, to going deep in cup competitions, to recruiting the right players at the right time. Leaders who shift their focus to building healthy organisations, and functional teams, will gain the greatest competitive advantage - just as Klopp has proved. It took a little long time for the Klopp effect to work. One of the most important things I can understand from the book by Raphael Honigstein, is how much hard work it takes to build a successful team. Jürgen Klopp, the “Normal One”, and now also become the “Legendary One”, will always be associated with gegenpressing and unique leadership qualities.

My from point of view he represents the future of leadership. This book is the not only for they who support Liverpool, but for all who want to learn more about how to build a "high-performance work team", and better than anyone Klopp knows how to bring noise to this subject.

Stein Morten Lund
An enthusiastic football fan, travel adventurer, Project Manager and Business Adviser
Moss, Norway
7th January 2023
Travel Explorations – The Global Travel Guide For Genuine Adventurers

Recommended reading of Jurgen Klopp`s leadership:

Performance Management: 4 Leadership Lessons from Jürgen Klopp
Noel Dykes
Published 23rd December 2022

A management professor explains what makes Jürgen Klopp so successful - he should be a role model for all managers
Fanny Jimenez, Business Insider Deutschland
Published 12th February 2021

What makes Jürgen Klopp so special? James Milner reveals all
James Milner has listed a host of reasons that make Jürgen Klopp the successful manager he is.
Published 7th April 2022

Three words become recently Liverpool FC's new catchy slogan: “This Means More”. It strengthened the already well-established motto “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. At the same time, it gave a deeper understanding for they who are Liverpool supporters and strengthen their identity. By looking at what Jurgen Klopp, players and other in the club do for their supporters and community, it goes far beyond football and witness of great leadership. They are really building the brand Liverpool Football Club. Klopp and the players are very must involved in several kind of charity work. For example "Common Goal" (2019): Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has joined a movement which aims to get those in football to commit to fighting injustice (source: The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation).

This Means More
Source: UK Sponsorship Awards.
Extract from the article “UK Sponsorship Awards 2023”:
The This Means More concept, created by Octagon UK, will also be integrated into campaigns to support key marketing initiatives including the club’s kit release, and extend to the US, Europe and Asia as part of the Liverpool FC’s desire to reach their global fan base.

Commenting on the club’s new marketing approach, Billy Hogan, Chief Commercial Officer, Liverpool Football Club, said: “This Means More truly articulates what it means to be a part of this great club – our pride, our heritage and our story create the unique DNA that defines Liverpool Football Club and makes us what we are today.”

Josh Green, Creative Director, Octagon, added: “We are thrilled to be working with Liverpool Football Club. Inspired by the vision set out by the great Bill Shankly, a truly unique philosophy sits at the heart of the club some 50 years on. It has resulted in a bond between the club and the community that many would argue, is unsurpassed in football. Capturing this sentiment was both a challenge and a real privilege.”

The LFC Foundation is the official charity of Liverpool Football Club. Building on the Club's work in the community over the past 20 years, the charity was formed in 2010 as a financially independent organisation to harness the power and passion our fans and supporters have to improve the lives of others. As the organisation writes on its website: "Being part of Liverpool Football Club means being part of the greatest football family in the world. We look out for each other, and particularly those who are in need."

Jurgen Klopp: The Social One 
The Social One: Why Jurgen Klopp Was a Perfect Fit for Liverpool. Written by Marios Mantzos. As the author wrote on LinkedIn on 20th Februaruy 2023, his book 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑺𝒐𝒄𝒊𝒂𝒍 𝑶𝒏𝒆 starts a wonderful journey all around the world. The Social One sets out why Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool FC are a match made in heaven. Klopp is not just the reformer of Liverpool FC, but a true leader and authentic father figure. Deep and engrossing, this detailed portrait of the managerial maestro is not just a football book but a study of leadership and motivation. For further reading and ordering the book: Amazon

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