CLASS OF 92: A LESSON ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP “A film speaks the story of six young men who together would conquer the world with Manchester United” Divyanshu Sharma Indian Philosophy For Leadership Excellence CLASS OF 92: AN ESSAY ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP Divyanshu Sharma (B16017) Servant Leadership “True leadership is derived from the will of an individual to serve” – This is the thought that led Greenleaf to come up with the concept of Servant Leadership. Northouse, while characterizing the historical models of leadership, had defined leadership as an individual influencing a group of people to achieve a common goal. However, the model of Servant Leadership presented by Greenleaf focusses on the higher needs of individuals. It talks about the overall growth and well-being of the people being served. After the demise of Greenleaf, Larry Spears reviewed his writings and outlined the 10 characteristics of Servant Leadership – Empathy, Listening, Awareness, Healing, Conceptualization, Persuasion, Stewardship, Foresight, Commitment to the growth of people and Community building. The Class of 92 The movie chosen for this essay, The Class of 92, illustrates some of the Servant Leadership characteristics through its main protagonists. It is a British cinematic documentary, which released on December 1, 2013. The film describes an era in the British culture when six working class boys inspired a complete generation and became superstars. It states the rise to fame and global sporting superstardom of these six talented young footballers of the Manchester United club. They are Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes. This documentary covers the period 1992-1999, concluding in Manchester United’s European Cup victory. This also dramatically intertwines and emulates the highs and lows of its football pilgrimage with the immense social and cultural changes taking place in Britain during that period. The film also describes how six ordinary boys became the spine of the most lauded football team in the world. They flourished under the regime of Sir Alex Ferguson, who managed the Manchester United Club from 1986 to 2013. Termed as Fergie’s Fledglings, these six footballers remained best of the mates as they explored the unchartered territories in the world of football. The movie revolves around these six players and presents interviews with former footballers Eric Cantona and Zinedine Zidane, former Manchester United youth coach Eric Harrison, film maker Danny Boyle and former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair. The series is an amalgamation of fun and drama as Ryan Giggs, Phil and Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt take charge of the Salford City Football Club in their first season. A group of 12 volunteers originally ran this club. The professional footballers who had played at the highest level were in for a few reality checks on being the owners of this new club. Their new adventure of owning a club was full of challenges. The club that they now owned was seven tiers down the Premier League football. However, they had strong willpower to succeed and stuck together through various situations. Gary Neville was in for a shock when on the first day of practice, he saw the coach turning up very late. In addition, Phil and Gary noticed that the toilets of the club were in shambles. They knew that many things needed turn around. It became more difficult as some of them had professional careers to look after. Also, the players of the Salford City F.C. were all part-timers, which means, they had day jobs and could only play in evening after coming back from their jobs. The first four months proved to be the start of a fire. The ex-professionals and current owners of the Salford City F.C. wanted to take the team to the top. However, with the missing coach and improper facilities, it looked almost impossible to get the best out of the players. The club sees a silver lining when the star striker Gareth Seddon drops down four leagues and agrees to play for Salford City. Results are delivered but the performances vaporize again. Owners and The Servant Leadership The Class of 92 realizes that they need to step up for their club to save the season. Paul Scholes and Phil Neville start to coach the team. This was the first instance when the owners realized the need of getting their hands dirty. They had the foresight but realized that the stewardship for the team was missing. Hence, they got to the business by taking the coaching matters into their own hands. With the objective of growth of the players and that of the club, the leaders decided to get in the thick of the things. At the end of the season one, Ryan Giggs, Phil and Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and manager Phil power were celebrating on the pitch at Moor Lane as Salford City were crowned the champions of First Division North. Through the process, players’ outfits were changed and the basic facilities like toilets were renovated. Awareness and attention to details were seen to be of paramount importance for a servant leader by Larry Spears in his observations. He observed that ‘listening is crucial’ and that can be seen in the current example of Class of 92. The team had found its winning form in the middle of the season. However, something was amiss and the needed to do more in order to get the promotion dream fulfilled. It was clear that things were not going to be easy for them in the next season. With Gareth Seddon, who was the star player of the last season, suffering ligament tear, the team found itself in a spot. Since the players were mainly part-timers, it was difficult for the club to recruit the new quality players. New joint-managers were roped in by the club in Anthony Jhonson and Bernard Morley, who guided them through a thrilling FA cup run. However, a visit from a strong rival team Darlington put tremendous pressure on the team. But, the first season closed to horrible consequences due to hoard of factors and all eyes turned to Salford and its owners. The movie closes in on with great expectations from the owners. However, their handling of the club including getting involved with the players at a personal level, personally looking after the basic amenities and taking the role of a coach in their own hands, presents an apt example for Servant Leadership.