There have been quite a few head coach changes recently in college football. Mark Richt from Georgia went to Miami. Tony Hughes, coordinator for Mississippi State went to Jackson State University. Kirby Smart, coordinator for Alabama is going to Georgia. Will Muschamp, former head coach of Florida, most recently defensive coordinator for Auburn is now the head coach at South Carolina. And the list goes on.
I too have a new head coach, in the form of a new dean. I like to think that managers, whether they are deans, fast-food supervisors, etc., are much like coaches. They all should work to get the best out of the individual while functioning as a cohesive unit – a team. How should new coaches/managers integrate themselves with their already built squad? When Charlie Strong became head coach of the Texas Longhorns, he met with every player. According to experts, “it’s critical to devote time and energy to establishing how you want your team to work….” “One of your first priorities should be to get to know your team members and to encourage them to get to better know one another . . . .” (Carolyn O’Hara, What New Team Leaders Should Do First)
With my new dean, his attempt to get to know us has been through a survey. I don’t think that it is necessary for him to meet with all of us like Charlie Strong did with his team, but I would have liked for him to at least make a presentation to all of us. Let us get to know him; how he operates and some general expectations. Then maybe he could have sent us the survey and after he had some time to digest our thoughts, he could have come back to the group with a more detailed and defined plan or list of priorities. But, to start off with a survey just seemed wrong. Maybe I’m being too sensitive.
There was one question that I was particularly perturbed by:
Who are the “stars” among your peers?
Does that seem like an appropriate question to ask? It is this kind of question that brings about division. I just don’t think that it’s appropriate for forming a team-like environment. Coach Paul “Bear”Bryant once said, “If we have an intercepted pass, I threw it. I’m the head coach. If we get a punt blocked, I caused it. A bad practice, a bad game, It’s up to the head coach to assume his responsibility.” (Larry Adler, Football Coach Quotes, p. 20) If by this question his intent is to let “stars” shine and be recognized for their contributions, then ok. Unless you’re an introvert who prefers to stay in the background. But, if the “stars” do not live up to expectations, will he assume the blame?
Only time will tell if this is a foreshadow of things to come or just a minor misstep. What has been one of the best strategies or experiences you’ve had with a new supervisor? Comment below.