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Good leaders lift people up

October 29, 2018

Like many, I was shocked to hear of the helicopter crash outside Leicester City Football Club's stadium on Saturday 27th October which resulted in the death of Leicester City's chairman  Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others. The loss of all lives in this tragedy is deeply saddening. What has struck me is the public outpouring of affection and respect to this man by the city of Leicester. Today has seen the laying of flowers outside the ground and inside the ground a silent moving tribute by Leicester staff and Vichai's family. https://twitter.com/LCFC/status/1056950055628926976 

 

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has clearly had a profound affect on people. He was CEO of Kingpower Duty Free, and bought the club in 2010. Unlike many foreign owners of premiership clubs, he managed to endear himself to the fans. He did things like pie and beer for the fans on his birthday and in 2016 he brought them the ultimate gift when the team, in fairytale fashion, was crowned champions of the Premier league. Beyond the club he made large donations to the local hospital and Leicester University, showing that he was someone who cared for the community as well as his football club. 

In all of this, it was the open letter that Kasper Schmeichel, Leicester City goalkeeper, sent on Sunday that was most striking for me. It is a letter of honest love for a man who made a difference to him as a player and to his community. Take time to read this letter. 

 

Once you have wiped away the tears, you may see the things that I noticed. In this, Kasper talks about the following things that struck him about the Chairman of the football club:

  • cared deeply

  • hard working

  • dedicated

  • passionate

  • kind

  • generous

  • time for everyone

  • gave hope that the impossible is possible

  • inspired me 

  • gave me experiences

  • part of a vision

  • create a great environment

  • infectious smile & enthusiasm

In our training with leaders, we highlight that the heart and character of a leader are crucial. The heart of a leader is who we live for. Our character is who walks through the door when no-one is looking. In other words we do the right thing, even if we would get away with doing the wrong thing. It is clear from this letter, that Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was a leader who had a heart for others. He was someone who has lifted up Kasper and those around him. He is someone who had a heart for others. 

 

Moments like this tragedy remind us of the frailty of human life. We have but one chance on this earth and we need to take it well. The loss of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha to his family, friends and the people of Leicester is huge. What is clear from Kasper's letter is that as Chairman of Leicester, he led well with a shared vision, enthusiasm, generosity, dedication and hoped that the impossible was possible. As leaders we should seek to display the bullet pointed qualities and lead with a heart for others. 

  • cared deeply

  • hard working

  • dedicated

  • passionate

  • kind

  • generous

  • time for everyone

  • gave hope that the impossible is possible

  • inspired me 

  • gave me experiences

  • part of a vision

  • create a great environment

  • infectious smile & enthusiasm

RIP Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

 

 

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