Tuesday 18 October 2022, 07:00

Technical Directors tackle leadership issues in Honduras

  • FIFA’s Technical Department ran a three-day seminar in Honduras

  • On the agenda: the role of Technical Director in the ‘new world of work’

  • Several participants emphasised the importance of establishing a regional network of Technical Directors

FIFA’s latest Technical Leadership workshop, which was held in Honduras from 13 to 15 October, addressed the key question “What does leadership look like in the new world of work?” It goes without saying that the topic extends far beyond football, but the 21 Technical Directors from Member Associations (MAs) in South and Central America in attendance were obviously focused on their own sphere of interest. “The world of work has changed dramatically over the last few years, and it’s no different for Technical Directors working in our Member Associations,” explained FIFA Head of Technical Leadership Jamie Houchen, who oversaw the seminar in San Pedro Sula. “Encouraging the participants to reflect on the trends currently shaping how we work, and what impact that has on their leadership style, has been a rewarding experience.”

This was indeed the case for all participants, irrespective of the size or importance of their Member Association, from Mexico to Anguilla. Over the course of three days, the technical development experts covered a wide range of leadership-related topics, such as the need for flexibility and change, authenticity, integrity and transparency, and thinking about leadership as a process, rather than a position or goal.

Innovative and inspiring learning environment

“Through a number of profiling and reflective tasks – both individual and collective – each Technical Director was able to leave the workshop with a better idea of their skills and capabilities, both in terms of what they can maximise and potential areas of improvement,” said Houchen, whose department had held five previous FIFA Technical Leadership seminars in 2022 – in Colombia, England, Kuwait, Egypt and Ghana – prior to this one in Honduras.

In his speech marking the opening of the seminar, Honduran Football Federation Vice-President Wilfredo Guzman stressed the importance of strengthening leadership within his Confederation. “This line of leadership, which the instructors will be covering later, has different roots that stem from a constant feeding of knowledge, with very favourable results,” he stated. “Because in football, the coach develops as a leader, in the same way as the educators at our coaching school do. And they, in turn, become leaders in the proper training of players, in any category. “This role is vital for the growth of football here. Consequently, FIFA’s decision to run this type of seminar, on a sensitive and decisive topic, is a wise one.” FIFA Technical Expert Jayne Ludlow echoed Guzman’s thoughts. “It has been a pleasure to be part of a FIFA Leadership team providing an innovative and inspirational learning environment for Concacaf’s Technical Directors,” she said. “I greatly value and recognise the opportunity of the peer-to-peer learning that takes place among the Technical Directors, who bear the responsibility of influencing the development of the game at all levels in their own MAs.”

Cooperation between experts

Another female participant at the seminar – a sign of the effectiveness of FIFA’s Women’s Football Strategy, which aims, among other objectives, to improve women’s access to senior positions – was Lucia Mijares, who fulfils the role of Technical Director at the Mexican Football Federation. She was highly appreciative of the cooperation she witnessed and experienced between experts from the region. “The workshop has been an enriching experience where respect, empathy, knowledge-sharing and problem-solving have been keen areas of exploration,” she said. “FIFA has enabled the further development of a strong regional Technical Director community and highlighted the true purpose of being a Technical Leader within our MAs, which is to inspire and lead others in order to build football for the future in our countries.” Andre Waugh, Concacaf Development Manager for the Caribbean, was keen to underline how optimistic he is about the future, as a result of the lessons he learned from the Honduras workshop. “I was not only impressed with the content of the seminar but more importantly, the delivery,” he said. “The hands-on, practical approach that prioritised situational application and collaboration over an abundance of theory-sharing made the learning much more relevant. It was clear from the kick-off that the three days were designed to be challenging and to take us out of our comfort zones.” Courtesy of this seminar, more than half of the Member Association Technical Directors have now participated in the 2022 FIFA Technical Leadership Programme, the goal of which is to develop a better understanding of the leadership skills required to effectively perform the role of Technical Director.