Watching the England v. Algeria game in the World Cup has brought to mind a number of questions about the role of a manager. Arguably, England is the better team populated with A-players, all stars in their own right. But as a team, so far we’ve seen a rather lack-luster performance. They have not been able to execute on their game strategy with any degree of success. So the question comes to mind …. why? Why are a group of enormously talented individuals failing to deliver on a promise?
In a similar, but opposite vein, watching the USA v Slovenia game today was almost inspirational. Two – nil down at the half. It was all but over, yet they came out for the second half and within minutes scored a goal and then proceeded to score two more (ok, one was dis-allowed in a somewhat questionable call). What did their manager say or do to change the game so dramatically?
And here’s where the role of a manager becomes so important. When I ask employees to describe the best managers they’ve ever worked for the top responses are usually something like this:
1.They know my strengths and how to get the best from me
2.They trust me and clear the way so I can do my job
3.They inspire me and value me.
4.They take time to develop me and find ways to help me succeed
5.They respect me and the organisation we work in
6.They listen and are honest and open
7.They are consistent and communicate frequently so that I know what is expected of me (and they get out of the way and let me do it)
Now, I’m no football expert (though you might assume otherwise if you listened to me during the World Cup!), but I wonder how many of these things ring true for the England and American teams.
Interestingly, many of the things mentioned above are held as true by executive coaches as well. We work with our clients to help them achieve their potential. But we let them do it for themselves. We trust them to know what to do, we value them for being themselves, we are open, honest and sometimes very direct, but most importantly we listen.
So what am I trying to say? Simply this, Managers are Coaches, they have to be if they want to get the best from their teams – sport or business, it’s all the same. Mr. Capello, are you listening??