No More Overtime for Bad Bosses

Recognize it’s time for a new game plan in 2020

In Recognition and Engagement by Lori McKnight

No More Overtime for Bad Bosses

Recognize it’s time for a new game plan in 2020

I’m not much of a hockey fan. I feigned interest in my youth for recruitment purposes, eventually acquiring a husband who lives for SportNet highlights and listens to radio announcers talk about one player longer than my book club meets.

So when the Toronto Maple Leafs fired their head coach in late 2019, I heard about it.

When his players starting coming forward with bad boss stories, I listened.

When Toronto won their first three games alongside their brand new coach (after a six game losing streak), it was validating.

This public airing of a workplace toxic boss and the impact on organizational results reinforces what most of us already know…even the most talented, driven, highly paid people won’t play to their potential with a poor leader. Money doesn’t motivate. And toxic bosses are very costly, as MLSE can attest.

How costly are toxic bosses?

There’s the lawyered payout package. But what’s less visible and even more costly is the division toxic bosses create across the organization. In the Leafs case, word had it some veterans were actively disengaged because of how the team was being treated so started “stirring the pot” with younger players telling them they weren’t getting fair ice time (according to talk radio).

While smoke rises, a bad boss’s influence moves down an organization, slowly eating away at your culture and performance. The Leafs top stars weren’t playing to their potential. Other players were being shamed and bullied. Not nice. These types of divisive leadership tactics have no place in sport or the workplace.

How to avoid divisive leadership?

The game plan for the Leafs new head coach seems to be building a winning attitude by heaping recognition on players as the reason for success. He’s also building confidence with promising, newly traded players, like Tyson Barrie. In 23 games under “bad boss” he had seven assists. In three games with “new boss” he had 3 goals and two assists. Pretty good results from a little recognition!

The best coaches take the blame when things go wrong and give credit to the players when things go well.

Nick Nurse, Head Coach of the Toronto Raptors, 2019 NBA champions, spoke about winning and his leadership style at a recent Top Employers conference.

1. Give your people a game plan

Yes, you need to be prepared. Yes, you need systems. But more than anything else people need to feel they can be successful. That you believe in them. They want to be coached. They want to be led. Leaders set the plan and their everyday actions set the tone.

2. Recognize what your players respond to

11-time NBA champion Phil Jackson, gave Nurse two pieces of advice; never underestimate the power of the basketball gods and imagine you’ve got a sword.

“Use the sharp end to push BUT every once in a while look at the handle to understand where they’re coming from and what they’re going through”.

I love this analogy. Everyone, including superstars need to be pushed, prodded AND treated with compassion to perform. Good leaders know this and their players respond by wanting to work hard for them.

Being able to recognize and ignite the discretionary effort needed to perform is what makes good leaders great. Companies, just like sports teams, need to cultivate recognition skills in their managers to bring out the best in their people.

Do you have a toxic boss? Take a page from the Leafs playbook in 2020… cut your losses and walk him or her out the front door.

Have a great boss? Recognize him or her … here are some fun printables!

Create a 2020 Recognition Strategy

Open your managers eyes to the benefits of recognizing others this year. Book a 20 minute discovery call with a CSI STARS recognition consultant and we’ll send you a recognition starter kit full of reminder posters, ideas and thank you cards. Let’s get started!!

Author: Lori McKnight

Lori McKnightAs VP of Recognition for CSI STARS, everything I do is about promoting small acts of recognition inside and outside the workplace. Positive words, deeds and attitudes multiplied by many creates a culture where people want to work, where they refer their friends and put in their best efforts. It’s really that simple!My Creds: MBA, Certified Recognition Professional, Forbes Council Member and GO SHRM blog squad contributor. Prior to joining CSI STARS, I worked at Mercer Human Resource Consulting and was Account Director at Youthography, a youth market research consultancy.