Skip to main content

What the England’s Euro 2024 Team Can Teach Us About Teamwork & Collaboration

As England’s National football team gears up for the Euro 2024 final, there’s much to learn from Gareth Southgate’s approach to building a cohesive unit out of players hailing from various clubs and cultures. The challenges he faces are not unlike those encountered in rapidly scaling businesses, where bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds into a unified team is critical for success.

Football is a game where possessing the best player does not ensure victory, as the performance of the team ultimately depends on its least proficient members. The weakest links must outperform their counterparts for success. Errors define tournaments, a single mistake can unravel a team’s efforts. Hence, investing in the team’s overall improvement is more beneficial than focusing solely on star players. Here’s what businesses can learn from the England team about teamwork and cross-team collaboration.

1. What Can Companies Learn About Teamwork from the England Team?

Unified Vision and Goals

Gareth Southgate’s first priority is to ensure that every player, regardless of their club affiliation, buys into a unified vision and goal. For England, it’s about winning Euro 2024 and playing a specific style of football. Similarly, in a business context, a clear and compelling vision aligns everyone’s efforts and fosters a sense of purpose.

Ownership and Positive Relationships

Southgate believes in giving ownership and building positive, open relationships with his players. He feels this approach helps England develop into a team capable of competing with the best in the world. As Southgate puts it, “I like players to have responsibility. To think about what we’re asking them to do. To have an opinion on the way we’re asking them to play and train. If players have some ownership of what’s going on, then that’s going to help them make better decisions on the field and also buy into the way that we’re trying to progress.”

This personal responsibility philosophy can be mirrored in businesses by encouraging employees to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities, fostering a culture of accountability and engagement. When team members feel they have a stake in the outcome, they are more likely to be committed and motivated.

Team ‘Buddies’ and Mentorship

One of Southgate’s creative strategies has been to assign team ‘buddies’—pairing players together to foster camaraderie and mutual support. This approach can be mirrored in businesses through mentorship programs or buddy systems for new employees. It helps individuals feel more connected, supported, and integrated into the company culture and company values.

Mental Strength and Resilience

Maintaining mental strength is crucial for athletes, especially under the intense pressure of international tournaments. Southgate has implemented various techniques to keep the team mentally strong, such as mindfulness sessions and motivational talks. Companies can adopt similar practices by promoting mental wellness programs, offering stress management resources, promoting work life balance and encouraging a culture where seeking help is normalised.

2. What Can We Learn About Cross-Team Collaboration from the Team?

Building Trust Quickly

One of Southgate’s significant challenges is building trust among players from different clubs and cultures in a short timeframe. Trust is the cornerstone of effective teamwork and high performance culture. In the corporate world, fostering trust can be achieved through transparent communication, regular team-building activities, and by creating opportunities for team members to collaborate on small projects before tackling bigger challenges.

Leveraging Diverse Strengths

Players bring unique skills and experiences from their respective clubs, and Southgate’s job is to harness these strengths effectively. Similarly, in a business setting, diverse teams can drive competitive advantage, innovation and problem-solving by bringing different perspectives to the table. Leaders should encourage an environment where diverse ideas are valued and integrated into the decision-making process.

Creating a Cohesive Culture

Despite their different club cultures, the England team must operate under a single, cohesive culture during the tournament. Southgate achieves this by establishing clear team values and norms. Companies can learn from this by fostering a strong organisational culture that transcends individual departmental cultures. Regularly articulating and reinforcing the company’s core values helps unify the team’s efforts towards common goals and create a winning culture.

Facilitating Open Communication

Open and honest communication is vital for Southgate’s team to function effectively. This involves clear, consistent messaging and an environment where players feel comfortable voicing concerns or ideas. In a business context, promoting open communication can be achieved through regular team meetings, feedback sessions, and ensuring leadership is approachable and listens actively to their teams.


The England Euro 2024 football team, under Gareth Southgate’s leadership, offers valuable lessons on teamwork and cross-team collaboration. Evidence suggests 15% of the team’s final league position can be attributed to the manager’s skill as a coach. In business, what is the impact of the CEO? The research surrounding the six conditions of high-performance teams framework puts the impact at 10% of leadership team effectiveness due to the ongoing coaching it receives from the CEO. By fostering a unified vision, building trust, leveraging diverse strengths, and promoting open communication, businesses can create cohesive and effective teams, regardless of individual backgrounds and departmental cultures.

In essence, the success of the England team lies not just in their individual talents but in their ability to come together as a unified force. Companies that emulate these principles can expect to see improved collaboration, enhanced team performance, and ultimately, greater success.

Gareth Southgate’s magic lies in his ability to foster a culture of ownership, trust, and open communication. By applying these principles, businesses can unlock their own magic, driving their teams to new heights.

For more insights on teamwork and leadership, feel free to reach out. Let’s transform your team’s performance together!

    Fantastic! Give us your details and we'll call you back

      Enquiry | Scaling Up Master Business Course