ARU must improve people management skills
Robbie Deans could be gone from the Wallabies at the end of the 2012 Rugby Championship (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Is anyone else out there a manager? Has anyone else had to deal with tricky employees, potentially with egos?
If so, I’d ask you what you’d do if a potentially valuable member, of your team came out and complained about the work environment being toxic.
Would you wait around and say nothing until this employee was given the opportunity to damage the game, and the team, to the point where it is almost irrelevant what the work culture is actually like?
Would you then come out and disregard the employee’s opinion by acting as though you’re confused about his meaning?
Would you make strange comparisons to the structures of other companies, companies that clearly have their own issues, as an argument against the employee?
Let’s apply some perspective to this situation. Let’s take out the polarising effect that someone like Quade Cooper tends to have on the public. Let’s disregard the medium of the initial rant, which some older heads would find disrespectful in itself.
I’d like to think that, as the manager of such an employee, I would be working with the man to find a solution upon hearing the first rumblings of discontent.
This does not mean bowing to the employee’s demands. However, it does mean taking his concerns seriously. It means investigating, in an appropriate way, the allegations made to determine whether there is any truth to them (has anyone else found that there is quite often fire where there is smoke?).
It means establishing an action plan and providing feedback to the employee (even if this is simply to explain why things are the way they are).
In my line of work, if you do not handle events such these quickly and decisively, in a fair and equitable manner, they tend to get blown far out proportion, and they have the potential to damage the business. At a personal level, there is also the risk that real people’s livelihoods will be adversely affected.
A good manager would embrace this as an opportunity to improve the organisation.
All I see now is a lose/lose situation in the short term for Robbie Deans and Quade Cooper, and a hell of a lot more pressure on our team in the coming weeks.
Longer term, the Lions tour will be on us before we know it, and again I get a sense that we’ll be sadly underprepared.
If only, as a group of supporters, players and administrators, we could truly live the ‘One Team’ vision.
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