Dictionary.com offers these definitions for the term, “manage:”
- to bring about or succeed in accomplishing, sometimes despite difficulty or hardship:She managed to see the governor. How does she manage it on such a small income?
- to take charge or care of: to manage my investments.
- to dominate or influence (a person) by tact, flattery, or artifice:He manages the child with exemplary skill.
- to handle, direct, govern, or control in action or use: She managed the boat efficiently.
- to wield (a weapon, tool, etc.).
- to handle or train (a horse) in the exercises of the manège.
I don’t think there is much relevance to the first or fifth definitions; the second can fall within the two relevant ones; I’ll simply say to many people feel like they are a situation like the 6th definition because of the second and third definition.s
Before I go further, let me acknowledge my opinion that forms the undercurrent to this article.
From the time we enter school as young boys and girls, we are conditioned for the world of being “managed.”
“Sit at your desk.”
“Get 100% on a test.
“Unless you do this, you won’t get into a ‘good college.’”
Then you repeat much the same behaviors because you are told, “Unless you get good grades in college, you won’t get a good job.”
Then we enter the workforce and, again, we are told to sit at a desk and do what we are told “or else you won’t advance in your career.”
It is no wonder that when people are fired (or “laid off,” to use the more popular HR vernacular), they are angry followed the rules they were conditioned to follow and were still “let go.”
What can replace management?
Here’s an alternative—being coached.
Again, using the relevant definition in dictionary.com, a coach is “a person who trains an athlete or a team of athletes.”
Great athletes are coached. They all know what the result is they want to compete for (a title, championship, a crown, a cup) and work with a coach who teaches them how to win.
“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment,” said UCLA coach, John Wooden, the man who coached multiple collegiate basket ball champions including a team who, over multiple seasons, won 88 consecutive games over multiple seasons, won 7 NCAA championships in a row and 10 in 12 years (yes, he knew something about recruiting, too, and that is part of building a champion).
He was clear about his system and his expectations. He was a great recruiter of talent. He trained his people well, set expectations for each athlete and insisted they meet them.
Was he “a yeller?” Here’s what some said about him:
“He wanted to win, but not more than anything … My relationship with him has been one of the most significant of my life … The consummate teacher, he taught us that the best you are capable of is victory enough, and that you can’t walk until you crawl, that gentle but profound truth about growing up.” ~Kareem Abdul Jabar
“Wooden was a role model, not just as a coach and a wise man, but also for his modesty and character, and on how to age successfully. He was a legend in ways that go far beyond basketball. His personality, positivity, wisdom and attitude toward aging played important roles in his cognitive vitality. He also had a great sense of humor about life, and even death … One of Coach’s famous quotes was, ‘When I am through learning, then I am through.'” ~Alan Castel, UCLA assistant professor of psychology.
“[He] has a heart, brain and soul that have enabled him to inspire others to reach levels of success and peace of mind that they might never have dreamed possible on their own.” ~Bill Walton
There are many models of great coaches, all men with flaws who saw a way to win through coaching. Alabama football coach “Paul “Bear” Bryant was incredibly successful.
He said, “You must learn how to hold a team together. You must lift some men up, calm others down, until finally they’ve got one heartbeat. Then you’ve got yourself a team.”
For those of you who are “managers,” you will usually get better results if you coach your team.
Don’t know how to be a coach? Hire one for yourself and experience the difference.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2016, 2021
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smartsets.
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