Thursday, May 30, 2013

Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins Shoving Jerryd Bayless Is OK

In Game 4 of the Grizzlies loss to the Spurs that ended their season, Coach Hollins of the Grizzlies slightly shoved player Jerryd Bayless to the bench as he was sitting down.  In the aftermath of the two Rutgers coaching incidents in which coaches were reported as abusing players, this is getting some negative press.  Both Rutgers incidents were uncalled for, but I'm ok with Coach Hollins giving Jerryd Bayless a little shove and Jerryd responding with probably something to nature of, "don't put your hands on me."  Actually I don't know if Jerryd responded that way, but I would've.

Jerryd Bayless clearly blew a defensive assignment, and many of those blown assignments by the Grizzlies are why they were eliminated from the playoffs by the Spurs.  Jerryd deserved to be called out, but hopefully he let his coach know that maybe he slightly crossed the line.  This happens fairly often at the manager level and above in businesses.  The equivalent of that settle shove by Coach Hollins would be your boss calling you out in the weekly manager's meeting for a poor decision.  If you and your boss were both confident and had a work dynamic in which you could fairly aggressively challenge each other without ruining the relationship, you might return the favor to your boss in the meeting, though more passively.  You might respond by commenting that you reviewed the decision with him earlier and he didn't take issue with it at that time.  I would argue that your ability to have this healthy disagreement with your manager would lead to a higher level of results.


Anyone who has read the books, done the research and gotten results at a manager level knows that this is a trait of highly functioning and results oriented teams.  Now the shove is clearly inappropriate in Corporate America, but may be ok with the family business down the street.  When you're playing an all male physical sport at the professional level, with high rewards and high consequences, you might get a shove every once in awhile.  Look at how many fights break out in the NFL during practice, let alone the games.  

Highly effective management teams discuss ideas, projects or plans with honesty, passion and emotion.  Although respect is necessary and required, if you're not willing to fight passionately with other managers regarding decisions that affect your people, then you need to go back to the practice squad.  Ultimately the big boss will have to make the final decision and it surely won't appease everyone.  But if everyone had a chance to voice their opinion and concern with candor, then it's easier to buy in to ultimate decision.  Human Resources along with the leader of the group has to ensure that passionate debate is encouraged and allowed because it results in more effective teams.  More importantly it will result in less managers being silent and not owning decisions in meetings, yet returning to their departments only to undermine and criticize the decision amongst their direct reports.  HR should always figuratively be supporting the "Coach Hollins Slight Shove."

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