Your team doesn’t need you when they’re winning

You earn your money as a manager when the team are going through a difficult patch. When performance dips, when morale is rock bottom and confidence low that’s when your experience and know how is supposed to make the difference. 


Jose Mourinho apparently told his opposite number on the Chelsea bench that he should not be so quiet and miserable when his team is losing nor did he need to be so animated on the touch line when they were winning. Sound  advice from an experienced and successful manager to a gifted but inexperienced colleague. Although there is little evidence that Jose follows his own words of wisdom. It is of course just as likely that this was all part of the touch line banter designed to wined the opposition up. 


Encouragement and support are most needed when things aren’t going your way and the last thing any team needs is to see a despondent and resigned manager retreating into their shell giving the impression their is nothing they can do to change the situation. 


Managers must always believe they can change the situation because if they don’t the team won’t. Does this mean that all managers are optimists? I think most are but the thing is in management you have to be a good actor and a bit of a con artist so publicly you are optimistic privately you are realistic. You must give a convincing performance that you share the organisation’s vision for the future, that you are committed to the cause and that each individual is capable of more than they realise. You must be upbeat even though you know the true financial position, that resources will be stretched and some personnel changes are inevitable, even that your own position is nowhere near as secure as you would have everyone believe. 


The managers mood is important  due to its effect on the team. Sometimes disappointment, occasionally justifiably angry, momentarily disheartened, never, never despondent. As Jose said to his team in a recent the fly on the wall documentary , “ If you think I am not my usual self it is not because I am in a bad mood with you it is because my dog died last night”. 


Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger 

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