The greatest footballer of his time or the greatest footballer of all time is a debate many people have about Lionel Messi’s, however there are many things that we can learn on leadership from Lionel Messi.

Commonly ranked as the best player in the world and rated by some in the sport as the greatest of all time, Messi is the first football player in history to win four FIFA/Ballons d’Or, all of which he won consecutively, as well as the first to win three European Golden Shoe awards.

As much as he is a footballer his style of play and his personality teaches us a lot on leadership if we are paying attention during the game of play.

“I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentine football and his name is Messi. Messi is a genius.” – Diego Maradona

10 Success lessons from Lionel Messi – “Soccer Genius” for entrepreneurs

Here are the 10 success lessons from Lionel Messi – “Soccer Genius” for the entrepreneurs,

1. Pass the Ball

Perhaps the greatest lesson that we learn from Lionel Messi is passing the ball in leadership. In the game between Barcelona and Celta Vigo, Messi took the penalty by passing it to his team mate to score, of which Suarez took opportunity to score to reach his hat trick mark for the game, it was not about the pass but about the sacrifice. Messi was about to reach a new landmark of 300 goals but instead of selfishly gunning for his record he opted to pass the ball and Suarez got the goal and Messi’s land mark had to wait. Four days later he scored two goals to go past the land mark and one of the person’s that assisted him was Suarez for one of the goals.

In leadership, too many times leaders think it’s all about them but leadership is about sacrifice, not serving yourself but by providing service to the teams. Messi’s record for assists is very impressive for a player who breaks records in scoring goals. The true impact of a leader is the number of people you have assisted to progress in their lives.

2. Leadership is also a dribble

A leader takes responsibility for making a difference in the game. Messi has in many times dribbled past 3 or 4 opponents in order to create a goal opportunity or to score himself. There are times when a leader is required to make a difference at work, in life, in the family and in a nation. Being able to stand up and create a difference in life is a leader’s mandate. Many people have a claim to leadership but when it comes to dribbling past the obstacles and challenges they stand aside to watch. A leader needs courage in order to succeed past obstacles that will be there.

Messi is described as a game changer, and that is what leaders do. Until a leader can be a game changer, their influence on situations is relegated to wish lists. It is one thing to make a speech but it is another to play the game and make the difference and not just a difference.

3. Set excellence as your standard

Leadership matters when excellence is the standard that is used to measure the success of the effort of leadership. As a record holder and breaker it is easy to see that Messi demands excellence of himself and how he relates with the team. Barcelona has achieved so much with Messi included in the team for the past years because they have an excellence creed that demands the very best of them. Hence in excellence, Messi plays his football with absolute skill that is comparable to very few other footballers in the world or the history of football.

As a leader you must have a standard that you live by which people will see and that excellence will create records for itself. Messi has 5 FIFA Ballon d’Or awards which is the most by any person in the game of soccer and that is not by incident.

4. Be fit and play

Messi has set records because he plays in the games. You cannot set records until you participate in the opportunity to set records. In order to be able to set records you must be fit, a leader must be fit. Leadership requires different skills which include such qualities as courage, determination and strength but above all you need to stay fit in order to stay on the field. Messi qualifies to play the games that he plays in because he stays fit.

A leader must always be in practice because leadership demands effort. Messi has earned the number of records and awards that he has received in his life to date because he keeps fit and keeps playing.

5. Get up and continue the game

Without comparing Messi and most players, Messi tends to keep playing and not complain too much. He is fouled in very sinister fouls but he still continues with the game. Leaders are regularly required to demonstrate their resolve by getting up when the situation kicks them down. There are always opponents who will kick you in life, foul you in the worst way , but a leader gets up and continues with the game. Some players will wriggle all over the pitch after a foul or pretend to be in pain but a true leader gets up and gets on with the game.

Respect is never earned by lying on the floor it is earned whilst playing the game; hence Messi gets up to play the game. Earn respect in life by being a participant and in time you will earn leadership lessons. How you conduct yourself on the field of play will determine how many people will follow you.

6. Scorer supreme

Although Messi continues to excel when running at defenders, his game has evolved significantly since he had a string of muscular injuries in 2013. As a result, he now prefers to pick and choose the ideal moment to burst forward with blistering runs.

This recent, more methodical approach caused some surprising criticism initially but, in fact, those moments recharging batteries, keeping his head up and internalising everyone else’s movements are in fact essential to ensure that he catches rivals unaware once he identifies a weakness in their back-line.

7. Consummate professional

Contrary to what opponents may believe at first sight, Messi is an incredibly strong player who takes his physical preparation and diet seriously, especially in recent times.

The No.10’s mental strength is equally impressive. Even though he is expected to excel in every appearance for both club and country, always put a brave smile in front of the cameras whatever question he may be faced with and even accept opponents’ constant tackles without even complaining, Messi is capable of staying calm under pressure.

8. Passion For The Game

Messi clearly has a burning desire for anything to do with football as he once stated “Money is not a motivating factor. Money doesn’t thrill me or make me play better because there are benefits to being wealthy. I’m just happy with a ball at my feet. My motivation comes from playing the game I love. If I wasn’t paid to be a professional footballer I would willingly play for nothing.” The Argentine world class striker is a huge success as a result of his genuine passion for the game.

9. Identify with the right team

One of Lionel Messi’s advantages is that he joined the right team. Statistics has it that he is the best player to play football. He won 5 Balon D’or awards. This would not have been possible without the help of his team members. It is safe to say that Barcelona has done more for Messi, than he has done for Barcelona.

10. Calculate and plan strategically

If you are a football fan, you will agree with me that it takes calculation to score a goal. You have to calculate how to hit the ball, what to do, when to run, when to score etc. This is what Lionel Messi does very well in order to score goals. As a entrepreneur, you have to be calculative enough to know about the market opportunities.

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