Tuesday, February 5, 2013

10 Penalties That I Would Call if I Were a Management Referee

In the final minutes of the recent Super Bowl, 49ers coach Harbaugh was upset about a holding penalty on Michael Crabtree that he thought should have been called. After the game, he said “there was no question in my mind there was a pass interference, and then a hold on the last play.”

What would professional football be without good officiating? From Coach Harbaugh’s perspective, it would be the difference between winning and losing the most important game of the season.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the workplace, there are no management referees. Managers get away with all kinds of fouls, with little or no consequences. Often it’s because no one with any authority is there to catch them in the act.

What if we created a new job called a “Management Referee”? Just like those NFL-like referees that roam the airports in the Southwest Airlines commercials throwing penalty flags for bag fees and poor customer service, these referees would patrol the workplace looking for flagrant management malpractice violations.

Here’s 10 penalties that I’d look for if I were a Management Referee:

1. Employee pass interference:
Otherwise known as micromanagement, this penalty is for getting in the way of an employee or team of employees that know how to do the job better than the manager.

2. Illegal use of meetings:
A meeting with no agenda, no apparent purpose, no process facilitation, little or no collaboration, and no meaningful decisions or action items.

3. Unnecessary roughness:
Unfair, undeserved, overly harsh, unprofessional and disrespectful criticism.  Often referred to as bullying.

4. Offsides/neutral zone infraction:
Inappropriate touching, language, innuendos, and other types of sexual harassment. Depending on the foul, "illegal use of hands" could be called as well.

5. Unsportsmanlike conduct:
An ethical violation.

6. Excessive use of buzzwords:
Should be self-explanatory. Words that would most likely draw a flag: anything 2.0, pushing the envelope, out-of-the-box, sea change, low-hanging fruit, and nailing Jell-O to a tree.

7. Humor with the intent to injure.
Over-use of insults, jabs, gotchas, sarcasm, or cynicism.

8. Offensive hubris:
Over-the-top self-indulgence and arrogance, often as a result of an over-inflated ego

9. Delay of game:
Slow decision making that slows down critical projects and causes employees to miss deadlines or have to rush at the last minute.

10. False Start:
Confusing, contradictory, or a lack of direction that results in projects starting and stopping.

What penalties would you call as a management referee?


Christopher Avery said...

Excellent. What fun. I can't think of anything to add.

Ashok Vaishnav said...

A great tool for continual introspection.

Annette Franz said...

This is a great list. Thanks for making the connection. It's fun and easy to understand!

Rod J. said...

How about another one. I forget what the call is when a player showboats in the endzone following a touchdown. I'll just refer to it as Illegal Showboating following a Touchdown.

Dana Malstaff said...

This is so true.
I would add "The Absent Manager". This would be the manager who is just never there to offer any advice or direction, whether good or bad.

Dan McCarthy said...

Christopher -
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

Ashok -

Annette -
Thanks, glad you had some fun with it too.

Dana -
Thanks! 10 yard penalty for lack of availability.

Dan McCarthy said...

Rod -
Thanks, I like it! Excessive celebration.

Earl said...

I would throw the flag on "Manager Pass Through." Telling an employee that they need to make a change because their boss told them to. That is a Personnel Foul!

Dan McCarthy said...

I like it! Thanks.

Peter Youell said...

Piling on! In this case, piling on blame and excuses for not achieving team goals.

Vinish Parikh said...

Awesome points , and the best among the 10 penalties are the Illegal use of meetings and Offsides/neutral zone infraction

Dan McCarthy said...

Thanks! Good add.

Anonymous said...

Great calls! Management by triangulation is another management foul. This is the manager who chooses to pit team members against each other.

Dan McCarthy said...

Thanks. That one might involve multiple fouls.