4 Leadership Lessons from Jürgen Klopp

Two people exchanging a high five in a virtual meeting, Frankli performance management and engagement software

Want more content like this?

Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter
Get people-centric management tips, compelling research and useful resources delivered to your inbox.

To my mind, there are few better examples of effective leadership than Jürgen Klopp. Klopp is a transformational leader. He’s also the manager of Liverpool F.C., a football club I’ve followed closely and enjoyed all the more since Jürgen Klopp came to town in 2015.

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.

Klopp’s role at Liverpool F.C. might be a million miles away from mine at Frankli, and I’m sure most leaders and managers in tech would say the same. But if you’re looking to build on your leadership skills, you’d do well to take inspiration from Klopp’s open and appreciative management style.

4 Tips for Effective Leadership from Jürgen Klopp

1. Build a Safe Environment

“Football is a mistakes game. Without mistakes, you can’t play it.” Jürgen Klopp

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.

2. Keep your People Connected

“Klopp creates a family. We always say 30% tactics, 70% team building.” - Pepijn Lijnders, Assistant Manager, Liverpool F.C.

Klopp understands implicitly that belonging and connection are essential factors in high-performing teams. On more than one occasion, Klopp has reportedly brought the entire staff and players away on holiday. Everyone knows the name of each member of staff, and he has a unique style of celebrating with the fans after every game. 

He connects the entire group, but he also understands that, the bigger the group, the stronger the relationship needs to be, and the more it means. 

3. Recognise the Value of One-on-Ones

“You learn more and more about your players each day, you learn how to treat them. A lot of that happens in one-on-one talks.” - Jürgen Klopp

Klopp once described his job as, “helping 11 players do the right things in the right moments.” To achieve this, he has to treat his players as individuals, which requires regular, one-on-one check-ins.  

The same could be said of a manager in a Tech Startup. Empowering people to achieve their goals means taking the time to get to know them as individuals. We built Frankli to help leadership and management teams digitise this process, and automate the scheduling of one-on-one meetings.

Most teams don’t get to spend 20+ hours a week running around the same pitch. The vast majority of us need help to ensure that one-on-ones happen regularly.

4. Invest Emotionally in your Team

“I live 100% for the boys, with the boys and what we do at the Club.” - Jürgen Klopp

Klopp comes across as a confident leader with high standards and a laser focus on the tactical side of the football. He couples this with emotional displays such as consistently hugging all his players after each game. He shows he cares, treats them all as equals and shares as much in their personal lives off the pitch as in their football.

Jürgen Klopp says he lives 100% for the team. I believe him, and I think his players, extended staff, and fans worldwide would too.

Frankli helps companies manage one-to-ones through automated scheduling, talking point templates, and shared notes features, all of which link back to your Tasks, Goals and Key Results. You can find out more here.


1-Minute Version: 4 Tips for Effective Leadership from Jürgen Klopp

1. Build a Safe Environment

“Football is a mistakes game. Without mistakes, you can’t play it.” Jürgen Klopp

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.

2. Keep your People Connected

“Klopp creates a family. We always say 30% tactics, 70% team building.” - Pepijn Lijnders, Assistant Manager, Liverpool F.C.

Klopp understands implicitly that belonging and connection are essential factors in high-performing teams. 

3. Recognise the Value of One-on-Ones

“You learn more and more about your players each day, you learn how to treat them. A lot of that happens in one-on-one talks.” - Jürgen Klopp

Klopp knows that regular, one-on-one check-ins are essential to any team’s success.  

4. Invest Emotionally in your Team

“I live 100% for the boys, with the boys and what we do at the Club.” - Jürgen Klopp

Klopp is a confident leader with high standards, but he’s not afraid to show his players that he cares about them.

Managing one-on-one meetings with your people is easier with Frankli. You can find out more here.





























Continue reading

Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter

Want more content like this?

Get people-centric management tips, compelling employee research and useful resources delivered to your inbox.