+Scott Watson

Monday, 22 April 2013

Emotional Intelligence Training For Luis Suarez?

The latest episode in the ever so entertaining saga of football player Luis Suarez was performed yesterday in Liverpool's game with Chelsea.  Whether you notice it or not, the behaviour of Luis Suarez draws some significant parallels with organisational managers and team members.

A review of Suarez's history in the sporting arena reads like a comedy of self-serving and blatant cheating.  His behaviour goes way beyond the 'diving for a penalty' standard which has become more and more popular each and every season as professional players seek to gain from every opportunity, whether within the rules or not.  This 'professional' possesses undoubted skill and the ever elusive ability to be in the right place at the right time during high-pressure matches.  The down side is that he also possesses an unparalelled ability (and willingness) to breach the rules, strike out at opposition players and then, entertainingly, feign injury to move attention away from his behaviour and shift it to the opposing player he has attacked, whether it be a verbal or physical attack.

Suarez's decision to bite the right arm of Chelsea player Branislav Ivanovic was just that.  A decision!  OK, he may have made his decision in less than one second, but, he CHOSE the behaviour he demonstrated.  Whatever his protestations, whoever he may choose to blame, Suarez owns his decisions and he owns his behaviour.  If you have watched the clip of the biting incident, you will have noticed that immediately following Ivanovic falling to the ground, and attracting the referee's attention, Suarez began to limp.  He began to limp, even though, Ivanovic hadn't impeded Suarez in any way.  Are you noticing anything in this pattern?  Isn't it the spoiled kid getting ready to blame the boy next door for making him lash out? Is it not a clear demonstration of the blame culture that the UK as a nation has promoted and endorsed during the past 20 years?  As the UK is finding now, the blame culture has quite literally returned to bite it on the ar...m!

How Is This Related To Managers? 

Have you ever worked for, or even appointed a manager who achieves the results, but leaves a trail of destroyed relationships in their wake?  Or how about working alongside a manager who again, achieves the results, is quick to accept the credit and receive the plaudits, but even quicker to absolve him or herself of responsibility when something doesn't go to plan.  It's the old finger pointing habit which only serves to destroy trust and collaboration, and when this happens, projects are delivered more slowly, more expensively and this impacts your organisation's bottom line, whether you operate within the private or public sector.

As Liverpool Football Club is finding with this latest outburst from Suarez, it is very easy for the boss to say 'No player is bigger than the club.'  But, such behaviour can be extremely difficult to address if the team member him or herself choose not to, and of course, when the player regularly demonstrates athletic brilliance in and amongst toxic behaviour which only serves to draw negative attention to your organisation.

Isn't it a challenge when you have a member of your management team who, because he or she possesses rare or amazing technical knowledge and/or skill, simply do not get managed proactively to promote a trustworthy, collaborative and healthy emotional climate within their team and within your organisation?  You may not realise the real cost to your organisation until it is too late.  Much like Liverpool Football Club!






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