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?