Tuesday, 15 May 2012

They think it's all over! Part two.

What can we LEARN from this year’s Premier League table?

I began this series of blogs by saying how often the ‘negative’ issues in football were often the focus when learning lessons . One of the points I raised was that of conduct issues being ‘ignored’ etc because of capability.

And yesterday it was highlighted again as Manchester City’s parade was marred by one of their talented players wilfully, publically and inappropriately (to say the least) doing something bad and stupid. Furthermore - how did he get on the bus without his boss or colleagues being aware of what he had/was going to do? – Does this highlight my point about ‘team members’ helping manage each other because surely, if they had known (even if the manager didn’t) they would have stopped him?

To add to this another player, who we understand will be heavily disciplined for his actions, said that all that mattered was that his team was not relegated. What a fabulous example for a captain to set, but hey – results are what matters eh?!

In both instances the managers have already let go of prior misdemeanours, so what does that say to their credibility, and how do they now handle these players?

Anyhow, moving on... We’ve looked at the top three in the table, but (as should be the case) here’s a look at what we can LEARN from those who don’t do so well. In business we should be try to find what our ‘poor performers’ bring (they got in somehow) and analyse why things are as they are.

  • Relegated in last place - Wolves:

Interestingly there was something that applied to both the top and bottom teams - it certainly applied to Wolves that, once the pressure was off they started to enjoy some better performances and results – a lesson in motivation perhaps.

We also a lesson in terms of ‘sackings’ and recruitment: Were the club too quick to sack their former manager? Did they not think through available successors? Was there another way?

In terms of the manager there seems little doubt that Terry Connor is a nice, dignified person with  the support of his team, but that didn’t matter because whichever division you’re in one thing remains – in a results business, what matters are results.

On the plus side - Perhaps, Wolves can go on to be a big fish in a little pond (a lesson in positioning) having gained experience playing in the premiership. 

  • Second from bottom – Blackburn:

A lesson in recruitment and laying the groundwork for a new appointment! Blackburn really struggled because the manager at the helm had no support from his ‘customers’ – he was doomed, in part, because the fans had big issues with the club (leaders) in general. Recent research by the CIPD has shown that staff issues increasingly relate to ‘leadership’ not ‘management’.

The positive - during the season, the manager handled himself with dignity and got himself a mentor/supporter who is himself an experienced boss.

The negative - It has to be added that, just yesterday, a damaging video surfaced of the manager which will now call into question his judgement and integrity. How long will he keep this job, and how long before he gets another one? Judgement and integrity are critical attributes.

  • Just in the relegation zone – Bolton: 

Bolton had the toughest season without doubt and were relegated on the last day by late results. But bigger than that was the near tragic situation they had to manage concerning Fabrice Muamba.

I have nothing but praise for the way they handled the situation – leadership, management and the team were together; the clubs communications were excellent, they showed compassion and support for each other, kept going and were a shining example for us all.

  • Worst Manager:

Sorry, to end on a negative note (until the next instalment anyway), but I'd be cheating to do a Best Manager and then not do a worst. Below is just my opinion:

Despite recognising the Villa manager has gone already, and the plight of Terry Connor and his side (who I have some sympathy with as their manager who was put into a role he wasn’t fully prepared for, under the spotlight, and in a side with some existing challenges), they were not the worst managers. 

In my opinion because (in my best mothers voice ‘he should have known better'), my nomination for ‘worst’ manager of the season goes to the Liverpool Manager. Granted, Kenny Dalglish was loyal (a positive trait) but when certain matters got out of hand, he let loyalty cloud his judgement/handling of the Suarez situation and needed the club owners to step in and make some amends. Unfortunately for him, the club’s results (other than the Carling Cup) did not mask his management failings. 

That's part two done! Next: Let's not forget the middle ground.

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