#FM17 | Emotional Engagement | 2 of 5 | The Role of Character

Emotional Engagement

The purpose of this mini-series, of which this post is the second of five, is to explore what it is about FM that engages the emotions of its managers.  

The first post considered the most obvious factor — enjoyment of success with a club. Here i consider a second factor, namely character.

Character resides on three levels.

First, there is the character of individual players. This is to a large extent a function of their personalities. The appeal of a player’s personality is heightened when that player is the right person at the right time. If you’re in a relegation battle, then a resilient player who consistently saves the day by putting in a sterling performance while all your ‘balanced’ players are falling apart will likely gain your affection. Ditto an ambitious player who lifts the team beyond their seasons-long mediocrity because he has his eye on the play-offs.

Second, there is team character, which depends on its individual characters but in addition depends on the degree to which they blend. Having one or two jovial types, for example, may help the squad to retain its bonhomie and deal with pressure. But you wouldn’t get far on joviality. You’d want determination, professionalism, and so on.

Third, there is the character of the club. This consists of the character of the board and of the fanbase. This consideration is more subjective than the two above. The important point  is to find a good fit between club and managerial personality.

For example, I like boards and fan-bases that are realistic. The board doesn’t raise its expectations at all quickly. The fans accept the club will sometimes need to cash in on players. This allows me to keep close to my comfort zone (FM hardly ever allows you to actually remain within this zone) — as a manager, I don’t handle pressure well (though it sometimes makes me more decisive).

Other managers would find such an environment — which frequently induces we-can’t-be-bothered responses to board requests — frustrating.

So, emotional engagement = success + character + three others, to be explored in subsequent posts.