Management Lessons from McJayGate

A lot has been written over the last seven weeks about the feud between the Denver Broncos and the Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler. The feud finally ended last Thursday when the Broncos traded Cutler to the Bears for three draft picks and one of their own. This isn’t an analysis of whose fault this affair was or who got the better end of the trade.

What this is about rather is what can be learned from a management and employee standpoint. These lessons don’t just work in football or professional sports. They work in the non-profits and the boardroom.

First from the side of the employee:
You Serve at the Pleasure of Your Employer:
You work for someone. In the NBC drama, West Wing, the staff of the president were heard in numerous episodes saying, “I serve at the pleasure of the president.” The same thing goes in any situation where you are the employee. Your work, your personality, your knowledge and your attitude are being paid for. When your services are deemed expendable, sometimes its simply because of money, other times its because an employer sees a chance to improve the team.

Be Open to Change:
The day Josh McDaniels was hired at the Broncos new coach, Jay Cutler was unhappy. But over time, he began to grow to be excited about the change and what McDaniels could bring. Its absolutely imperative for any employee to be open to change. Change is just that: a chance to try new things, learn new practices and grow as a person.

Don’t Play Hard to Get:
Unless you’re Michael Jordan (in his prime), or quite simply the world’s smartest person, you are expendable. Be willing to talk and figure out problems. This is obviously easier said than done because we all have pride and won’t want to come to the table with our rails between our legs. That said, if the employer wants to talk to you, talk!

Now from the management standpoint:
Don’t Lie:
If there is a chance the employee will keep working for you, don’t lie to them. Trust is hard to rebuild and sometimes impossible so why make it harder by lying. This is of course true to both sides, but for employers, if you like the employee, don’t lie to them.

Do What Best for the Team:
This not only means finding better talent, but also, if there is a chance you’re going to have an employee that is unhappy, you have to make the effort to fix that. You’re the boss. Moral is your job. One bad seed can ruin a team.

Don’t Play Hard to Get:
If you’re playing hard to get with someone you want, you’re going to get burned. If you want them, show them and it can go a long way to building up trust in the relationship. Trust is invaluable in the employer/employee relationship.

No matter what, it is vitally important that both sides have an understanding of the relationship and works every day to build it and make it stronger. This is done through communication, evaluation and constant growth.

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