This week’s focus: Every Thursday and Saturday I coach a local U8 football team. When we play games against other teams I share three ‘rules’ with the children. Rule #3 is to make sure that they show their skills, Rule #2 is to have fun, and Rule #1 is this: Don’t tackle your own player! The children are still at an age where they want to get the ball at any cost, even if it means tackling one of their own team mates.

But I have come to the conclusion that many business executives and managers also fall into the trap of tackling their own players.

When you give people objectives and accountabilities, and then go and over-rule their decisions, for instance, you are effectively taking the ball off them. That’s why it’s called “getting on the pitch”. The result of your actions is that more of your time is taken up by micro-issues, your people become less satisfied with their role and they also become less likely to make decisions in the future, waiting, instead, for you to come and take the ball off them again.

Where are you rushing onto the pitch and tackling your own players when you should be allowing your managers to find their own route to goal?

Off the record: My Perfect Cousin by The Undertones

Even at the age of ten

Smart boy Kevin was a smart boy then

He always beat me at Subbuteo

Because he flicked to kick – and I didn’t know!

© Stuart Cross 2013. All rights reserved.