Don’t look to football managers for best practice 

Is managing a football club so different to being a senior manager in a Local Authority?Both are challenged to motivate talented individuals. Both have a vision and a plan for the future whilst being required to deliver improved performance in the short term. In both cases recruitment  and retention will reflect and determine progress. The amount of money available and the priorities for spending it are familiar discussions in both the boardroom and cabinet. Both seek to manage their relationship with the media, build links with the local community and aim to keep the public on side despite some unpopular decisions and poor performances. 

But could a Local Authority senior manager get away with giving a team member the “hair dryer treatment” or kicking a boot across the room in anger and hitting a colleague in the head who subsequently  needed stitches as Alex Ferguson apparently did. Should a LA senior manager have such control over an employees life that they can discipline an individual for missing a training session to be at the birth of his first child as Brian Cloth did. Could a LA senior managers get away with fining a worker a weeks wages for some minor misdemeanour or imposing random drugs tests? How would your staff react to an email from the boss that listed restrictions on holiday activities like skying or sky diving? The best managers know the people who work for them as individuals so would you be comfortable forcing someone out of the organisation just because the chairman though he could bring in a bigger name? 

If LA managers treated their staff the way football clubs and football managers treat their players they would probably end up with a similar turnover rate and more strikes than a bowling alley. 

Blair McPherson former Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk

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