A high profile football club manager was suspended last week following reports of a dressing room revolt leading from a run of disappointing results and alleged friction
with the Board of Directors. This caused another high profile manager to say that his profession was more precarious than ever and that the most vulnerable person in the organisation is the manger given the changing mentality of players and society.
That caused me to think, is sport different to other walks of life in terms of how to manage a team and get the best from people?
Managing with passion for what you do is great, but managing with aggression, with tempers flared and the volume button raised whilst using foul and abusive language to "motivate" the team, could surely be construed as bullying and harassment.
The second manager was quoted as saying " we highlight areas where we could do better, otherwise how do we improve?". I do believe in organisations today the status quo really isn't an option. As an organisation you are either getting better or getting worse. Clearly managers need to do all they can to improve individual and team performance, but treating people with a lack of dignity and respect at best might get a short term improvement motivated by fear of future intimidation, and a wish to avoid humiliation in front of colleagues and team members. This surely cannot be sustainable or be a long term tool in the managers motivational tool kit.
I see that Scotland has qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. Something the men's squad has been unable to do since 1998. In April 2017 Shelley Kerr was appointed manager of the international women's team. I wonder what her management style is and how she goes about getting a successful team performance. Are gender issues applicable here? Are there lessons that could be learned from what appears to be a more collegiate supportive approach?
I believe you need to get to know your team as human beings. Consider managing your team as an honour and lead in a spirit of generosity wherever that is possible. Treat people well and they will run through brick walls for you because together you hold mutual trust and respect. The days of 'hairdryer' management are well and truly over. Positive management is everything. Being able to adapt is critical. Shouting and screaming at people you have a responsibility for can never be justified no matter what pressure you are under. A friend I met recently described a team discussing how to buy their CEO a megaphone because the CEO's response to performance difficulties was to repeat the previous instruction louder than the last time. The megaphone was necessary because the team thought the manager couldn't physically shout any louder. The team were also discussing how to leave the organisation. Treating people well makes good business sense and contributes to retention of staff and reduced turnover.
This piece started with the question are managers vulnerable now ? The answer in my opinion is that if you treat people with a lack of dignity and respect, then yes you are vulnerable, and rightly so. However work to treat your people well , get to know them as people, and wherever possible give them what they need and watch your organisational performance soar. It's not rocket science after all !
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