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Leadership & Culture, Performance | May 22, 2020
The Manager of English Premier League Aston Villa reflects on his growth and evolution as a leader while striving for work-life balance in one of sport's biggest leagues.

Dean Smith joined the At Home With Leaders Podcast during what was due to have been the final week of the English Premier League season.


Instead, Smith and Aston Villa, where he serves as manager, have not played since 9 March amidst the ongoing spread of the coronavirus pandemic and, like the rest of us, he has been confined to home.

There is still no return date set for the English top flight but this enforced downtime has presented Smith with unprecedented opportunities, including this appearance on At Home With Leaders, which is brought to you today by our sponsors Football Manager, the global hit football simulation game.

“This season is still going, we’ve got 10 games left to play,” says Smith of his first season as a Premier League Manager. “There’s a lot of things to learn and learn from.” He has gone back and reviewed each Villa match, which is something he wouldn’t normally do, in the pursuit of insights. “I’ve managed to do a video review with every player, which during the season is something I would never get the chance to do.”

Smith spoke to co-hosts Matthew Stone, Leaders’ Senior Product Manager, and sports psychologist and consultant Michael Caulfield, whose clients include Brentford FC [where Caulfield worked alongside Smith], Northampton Saints RFC and Hampshire CCC.

Also on the table for discussion were:

– The ways in which Smith has evolved as a coach [11:00];

– His ability to maintain emotional regulation at crucial moments [17:00];

– Balancing gut instinct and data [20:30];

– Building relationships with players, coaches and staff [22:00];

– Why being challenged is good for his leadership skills [26:30].

Michael Caulfield: Twitter | LinkedIn

Matthew Stone: Twitter | LinkedIn

Further listening:

At Home With Leaders – Kyle Dubas

Listen above and subscribe today on iTunesSpotifyStitcher and Overcast, or your chosen podcast platform.

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