Guident Newsletter – December 2018 – Issue 31

The Boss needs to be “The Coach” for the team

I began working with a company where “The Boss” was frustrated and exhausted.  The Boss was playing the roles of operations manager, sales manager, and being The Boss over the entire company.  The Boss had begun the company many years ago and the revenues had grown into the millions of dollars. Now The Boss felt like he had a “tiger by the tail” and was just hanging on without really controlling anything.   

I asked The Boss why he felt he needed to fill the management roles for all the departments and The Boss stated none of his employees were ready to take on the responsibilities.  The Boss was a big sports fan, so I used a sports analogy to explain what I was seeing. The Boss had several key positions open on his team and was waiting for an MVP player to show up to occupy those positions.  Because The Boss felt he did not have an MVP player on his team, The Boss left the positions vacant or tried to fill them himself. Imagine if he was coaching a football team and the right tackle position on the offensive line was left vacant and the quarterback was left to fend for himself.  Has a coach we would never do this. We would fill the position with the best player we had, knowing that the player was not MVP quality, but having a person in the position was better than leaving the position vacant. By not filling the operations managers position or the sales managers position, The Boss left others on the team vulnerable and unable to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.  

The Boss needed to fill the two positions with the best players available and then coach those employees into MVP players.  By trying to do too many jobs and fill too many positions, The Boss didn’t have time to coach his players and was frustrating himself and his team members.  The results were not what The Boss wanted. If you think about this, it was to be expected that one person could not do the job of three and produce the results the company needed.  After I explained this to The Boss, he told me one of the underlying reasons for not filling the positions was The Boss felt he could not afford the payroll because the departments were not producing the expected profits.  

The Boss was trying to save the payroll expense and thinking he could do the job of three positions; the operations manager, the sales manager, and being The Boss!  This is typical because in the early years of the company that is what The Boss did, he did everything. But now that the company has grown, one person doing everything is not possible.  The Boss needs to see the payroll expense as an investment in his employees. Most companies do not have a roster of all MVP players, so The Boss needs to fill each position with the best player possible and then coach them into MVP status!  I have learned not to underestimate the abilities of good people, often they will surprise us and do a great job when given the chance.