• Aryeh Brickner

The management lesson you shouldn’t learn from an NFL owner.

Footballs season is upon us and there’s a sense of optimism, anticipation, and excitement in the air in some way or another for nearly every single team. (Sorry, Dolphins, Lions, Bengals) But with football season comes the time-honored tradition of pre-season football, where teams charge regular season prices across the board (tickets, food, parking) to watch a bunch of practice players try and work their way onto the team. For those unfamiliar with this phenomenon, season tickets holders are obligated to pay for pre-season games, (a type of extortion) to receive their season tickets.

What does this have to do with management?

NOBODY will advocate that the pre-season package is a fair deal, yet all teams do it. Why? Because they can. But the backlash is slowly building momentum. Well, the point is you can exploit your employees too, but only up to a point.

Some companies make continued requests for employees to work unpaid overtime and then when people push back, they question their loyalty and commitment. If you’re asking employees to work unpaid overtime and in the back of your mind you’re thinking, they aren’t going to quit because of it, you’re guilty of taking advantage.

On an individual level, it could be a constant shift in schedule or infringing on someone’s personal time. “I need for you for this client call tonight until 11 PM” “Tonight? I sort of had plans with my family” “Well I need you, and if you can’t step up, there are others willing to do your job.”

And one of my favorites is, when one member of the team leaves, another member is expected to take on their entire workload with no extra pay, no title change, and no added flexibility in their schedule. Twice the work for the same pay. How is that fair? “He’ll never leave, (thinks the selfish manager) this job is too convenient”. Negative motivation will only get you so far.

A lot of companies take it for granted that their employees are simply happy to have a job and will bend to their every request. Well, they might, but only until their breaking point, as some NFL fans seem to be doing. But why push people to a breaking point? Why not manage them from a positive place and not from a place of “well, I can get away with it?” Is this really the best way to show you respect and appreciate their service? (That’s a rhetorical question 😊)

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