+Scott Watson

Monday, 23 September 2013

Managers Need Much More Than Passion To Truly Succeed

Premiership football club, Sunderland have just announced the sacking of colourful Manager, Paulo Di Canio.  No shock for many independent observers, somewhat of a relief for demanding fans who pay good money in a tough economic climate for some level of enjoyment and success, and no doubt viewed as unfair by m/any unions representing football managers.

With a dismal record of just three wins in his thirteen competitive games in charge of the team, Di Canio's record speaks for itself.  But there are several important factors to consider in this sensitive situation, such as:-

Was the Board's decision to appoint Di Canio as manager (after sacking Martin O' Neill) based on a successful track record, cultural fit, technical competence, or something else?  That something else being a passionate Italian accent, a 'Never give up' attitude, and some good PR?

Di Canio is most certainly passionate, and perhaps his Italian accent creates more impact than many of his (former) peers in the Premiership such as Tony Pulis at Stoke (who was fired as his board thought he had done all he could at the club), and Steve Bruce of Hull FC who, with his clearly north eastern accent, doesn't quite match the romance and passion, Di Canio's accent does.

Does a 'Fresh pair of eyes' really add so much value to a team who aren't 'succeeding' or achieving the success the financially driven board of directors and owner demand of them, or at least, hope for?  Not in this case at least.

Di Canio's reign at Sunderland was littered with public outbursts about his team's lack of passion, commitment and motivation.  Rather like former Hull FC's manager, Phil Brown's spat when his team were performing badly.  Brown is now famous, for all the wrong reasons, for not allowing his players to return to the dressing room at half-time.  Instead, he insisted they remain in the centre circle...to receive a right royal roasting from him!  Perhaps not the best motivator, or the best PR for a reasonably respected and successful manager. 

There is a time and a place for manager's to reprimand their team members.  My thoughts are - it's best done privately.  Why?  Because individuals make up teams and the 'one size fits all' approach to addressing poor or unacceptable performance has never worked in terms of adding value, and most likely never will.  But whether it is a football manager, call centre manager, customer service manager, or any otehr kind, the manager is paid, trusted and expected to deliver high quality results.  And this is where responsibility must be taken.

Di Canio is a fine example of a passionate, focused athlete.  But, as in business, being a great technician by no means guarantees that you will be a great manager. 


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