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Why Jurgen Klinsmann Has Proven to be a Motivational Leader

Jurgen Klinsmann has been heavily criticized for comments that he made back in December, and reiterated before the start of the FIFA 2014 World Cup Games.

“For us now talking about winning a World Cup, it is just not realistic. If it is American or not, you can correct me” Klinsmann said.

Many disagreed with Jurgen’s approach to the tournament and have critiqued his mindset of not going into the World Cup games with the goal of ultimate success. US defender Geoff Cameron was one of those who disagreed with Klinsmann’s comments. He said “Let the doubters doubt. That’s why Americans are Americans. We like to be the underdogs and challenge big things.”

While it seems natural to agree with the strategy and mindset of Geoff Cameron, and nor is there a clear right or wrong, maybe there is some strategy behind Jurgen Klinsmann’s words.

In addition to the comment above, Klinsmann also made the statement “You have to be realistic. Every year we are getting stronger, we don’t look at ourselves as underdogs. We are not. We are going to take the game to Ghana and they will take it to us and it will be an exciting game and then we go from there.”

“First, we’ve got to make it through the group. So let’s stay with our feet on the ground and say let’s get that group first done, and the sky is the limit.”

John Baldoni, a Forbes contributor who also analyzed Klinsmann’s leadership tactics in his article “Jurgen Klinsmann: Defeatist or Master Motivator” said “As a leader you want to encourage your team to excel but if you set the bar [too] high people do not aspire, they simply turn away. What Klinsmann has done is remove the burden of excessively high expectations from Team USA.”

Klinsmann allows the team to focus on the task at hand, rather than putting the pressure on them to conquer Mt. Everest. He sets smaller, more attainable goals, which will eventually lead to obtaining greater success.

Meanwhile, Klinsmann also defends his team when necessary. With the next game against Germany in sight, Klinsmann was not shy to criticize FIFA for the flawed scheduling system, and the disadvantages that face the US Team.

“We have one day less to recover. They played yesterday, we played today. We played in the Amazon and they played in the very kind of location where they don’t have to travel much. Everything was done for the big favorites to go and move on. We have to do it the tough way, but we’re going to do it the tough way.”

But at the same time, he remains realistically optimistic, both giving praise to his players, showing faith in their ability, but challenging them to prove it again. “All of them fantastic,” he said of his players’ performance. “They absolutely went to their limits, but this is what it is now. In games like that, you have to prove your point and show your quality. You want to show the world that you’re the best soccer players in the country. And that’s what they’re doing right now. They did an amazing job. We were that close. So we didn’t make it quite yet. We have to make it against Germany.”

“We have that fighting spirit, and we give everything in every game,” continued Klinsmann.

“The message is very simple, we want to beat Germany,” he said. “We want to be first in our group. We’re not thinking about a tie…”  “We will go to Recife and we will give everything to beat Germany. That is our goal.”

Tell us what you think about Klinsmann’s coaching strategies, comment below with your thoughts.

On 6/26/2014, the US Men’s Soccer Team advanced to the next round of the World Cup Games. on 6/30/2014, TRACOM posted a blog which serves as an update on the continued analysis of Klinsmann’s leadership tactics as the US advances to the final 16. To read the update click here.

Image Credit: Erik Drost

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