If you watch football you probably heard that Iceland became the smallest nation to compete in the world cup in football. We, the Icelandic people, are insanely proud of our team, their work ethic, talent and how far they have been able to go. Even if they have dropped out of their section we are so thankful that we have had a team to root on and they made us all extremely happy and proud. The above picture is even taken in a venue that showed the Argentina - Iceland game outside in the pouring rain and there were loads of people watching and the streets were deserted. What I find even more interesting is why this is happening and I am pretty sure that there are many reasons but one of them I do believe is their coach Heimir Hallgrímsson - part time coach, part time dentist. If you go to the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant leadership it states what servant leadership is:
For me Heimir Hallgrímsson is an outstanding example of a servant leader.
In an article by Skip Richard he lists up 9 characteristics that a servant leader has and I believe Heimir Hallgrímsson has.
Value diverse option
In football of course what the coach says is important. It is though interesting that when Heimir is talking about the coaching team he always talks about the people that are helping him prepare, looking at other teams etc.
Cultivates culture of trust
Before each game, Heimir meets up with"tólfan" who's the Icelandic teams biggest supporters but Tólfan means ‘12th man’. There he goes over how he is planning on playing the game, who will play etc. He is showing an immerse trust to tell this but also respect to these super fans.
He has also said that within the team he has put some ground rules and everyone knows the consequences of breaking them. He said that clear communication and clear rules / framework, helps a lot when you have a room full of guys that all are trying to be their best and now need to think about the team.
(Picture taken from www.visir.is)
Develops other leaders
Heimir is known for giving himself a lot of "one on one" time with each player. To make sure that they are developing and that training is going well.
He has an extremely good bond with Aron Einar the captain of the team. Heimir also wasn't shy to say how much Eiður Smári helped with morale in the Europe Cup and how he mediated his experience from playing with big teams and in big stadiums with a huge pressure on his shoulders.
Helps people with life issues
He makes sure that he and others are in touch with reality. Just 2 days after coming home from the world cup, he came home to Westman Island and asked to be a referee in a football tournament for 10 year old boys. My son was playing this tournament and it was pouring with rain but there he was referring and loving it. (Picture on left is taken from KSÍ). What a man and what an outstanding role model for these boys!
The below picture is my son playing with his team in a complete fog and rain!
When the players need encouragement he give it to them. Both on the one on one time or if they have had a bad game. Picture (from visir) is taking from the world cup where Heimir is talking to Gylfi and encouraging him after a rough results.
Sells instead of tells
It was only mere six years ago when our national team was ranked 131st in the world and we never even dared to think that we would be able to compete in a big tournament. A few guys that had dual citizenships chosen to play for other countries because it would mean more chance for them to get to the world cup! Heimir has said many time how important it is to have a vision and even if they are playing big names like Messi or Ronaldo - they are not there to chat with them - they are there to win!
Thinks you, not me
When asked about his talent for coaching he is always modest. He thanks the team, the team behind the team, the fan. He states we can't do this alone we have to do this together!
Thinks long-long term
When Hannes saved a goal from Messi, Heimir didn't flinch - he was already trying to think a few steps ahead. He has also said how important it is to set goals and already has started to talk about how Iceland needs to qualify for the Europe Cup.
Another thing is that when Lars became the head coach he said that he was disappointed with the decision but now he understand how much he has learnt and he was glad with the experience. Some coaches I am sure would not have taken the job to become assistant coaches - but he had the foresight to see further than just 1 or 2 years ahead.
Acts with humility
But above everything Heimir Hallgrímsson is one humble man. Who else would come to Westman Island to referee? Also when asked in interviews what was next for him as his contract is up he just answered "There are many other things more important in life then football, we take life as it should be and try to find those values that give us the most - one of the things for me is family."
Photo taken from Vísir, but it shows the special bond Lars and Heimir have.
Viktoría og Lísa