One of the things that bothers me to no end is when managers treat employees the same way they treat their fantasy team. When you have a fantasy football or baseball (or soccer) team, you trade players, you move them around on your roster, you release players and sign free agents, etc. You may have to deal with a salary cap or other roster limitations.
Although many people, myself included, take it very seriously, it is not the real world. You are not actually putting Jay Cutler on the field or releasing Tom Brady (as some fantasy league owners did early last year). Your moves have absolutely no impact on their success in real life.
Fantasy leagues are fun and a great social experience but they do not represent management training. What leads to fantasy league success, regularly changing your roster to leverage match-ups and hot new players, is not the way to build your team or company. Unfortunately, I have seen many cases where managers and companies treat their employees as if they are in a fantasy league. Interestingly, some of the best leaders I have worked with have fallen into this trap.
Playing “Fantasy League Company”
I sometimes see managers trading employees. One manager may need someone with a particular skill set, another manager may need to cut their head count and they agree to “trade” the first employee for a lower-cost employee.
Sometimes managers play fantasy league within their own organization. They will move people into different positions because it improves their chances to “win.” It will not be based on the employee’s performance or career path but there is a short-term opportunity to solve an issue by taking a person from one role to a potentially completely unrelated role.
Another problem arises when a company closes a division or unit. While planning the closure, management often decides where members of the team will end up. Although it is great that the team members are not losing their jobs, they are often moved to positions inconsistent with their existing position, working on products they do not believe in or forced to work with people they do not want to work with. Continue reading “Don’t treat employees like you do your fantasy league”