A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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Cake or Death?

Manage This. Please.

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We've all had managers, yes? Good ones, bad ones, horrendous ones. We've all had people who exert a great deal of control over one aspect of our life, sometimes to the point that it impacts other areas of our life. I apologize in advance, but I want you to remember what it was like when you had your worst manager ever.

You know, the guy who scheduled you at times you specifically requested off? The gal who was unrelenting and demanding, without ever expressing anything but distaste and distrust of your work. Maybe they belittled you to no end, perhaps just flat ignored you. Maybe they took your favorite red stapler away.

Whatever the reason you disliked/hated/loathed that person, think back to your work experience during that time. Were you, at all, motivated? Did you do your best work? Did you accomplish what you were brought on board to accomplish or did you come up short?

So many times, we come up short in those situations. We don't feel valued, our work loses its importance, and our performance suffers. Certainly, we bear the lion's share of the responsibility for lack of performance; but our managers do as well.

Can you imagine what it would have been like to work for Dan Snyder ten years ago? Ugh. Impatient. Demanding. Irrational. Belittling. Just plain terrible. Is it different now? Maybe. Maybe not. We've been told he has stepped back into the shadows to leave the "football" people alone to make their decisions. Does anyone really believe his presence doesn't permeate the thoughts on those who work in Redskins Park?

Is it possible that the reason Jay Gruden played a gimpy Trent Williams this year was because he needed any kind of an edge he could get to finish at more than 3 wins? When he was hired, I doubt Jay told Bruce and Dan that 3 wins sounded about right, 4 if things went well. I'm guessing he forecasted 6 at a minimum. And as the season wore on and that 6 got further and further away, he panicked.

Or how about Mike Shanahan, coming off 6-10 and 5-11 before catching lightening in a bottle with a transformative rookie who exceeded everyone's expectations and dazzled the league? Any chance one of the reasons he continued to play Griffin in that playoff game was because in the back of his mind he wanted to prove to the Impatient One that he could still win a playoff game?

We'll never know the answers to those questions of course. But I've worked for plenty of demanding, unreasonable bosses in my sales career, and I can tell you how much it drains you. How many times I have inflated my forecast artificially, or been tempted to inflate my results to get them off my back. Sales is a pretty bottom-line business. So is coaching in the NFL from the looks of things. I can tell you about the times I've been demoralized because I wasn't hitting my sales plan or my forecasts, and how it impacted my efforts and results in a negative way.

The flip side of that coin is what happens when you get a great manager. Someone who empowers you to try new things, to innovate ideas and pushes you to excellence. I've had some of them too. They do exist. We need to find one. NOW. Dan Snyder may very well have stepped back to the shadows, but his past actions hang in the air like a stink you can't quite get rid of. We need a buffer. Someone to stand in between Dan and the team and empower our coaches and players to be excellent.

I don't know who that would be. Judging from his press conference the other day, it isn't Bruce Allen. If Dan is smart (and so what you will about the guy, stupid he ain't), he will find THAT guy. THAT guy needs to set the tone at Redskins Park, one of empowerment and accountability and excellence. THAT guy can relegate Bruce to whatever role he thinks would work - ambassador, charity guy, contracts guy, whatever. As long as he doesn't have to give another press conference again, we should be in better shape. Let THAT guy do the talking from now on.

Go find him, Danny. Go find a leader of men. Let him evaluate the personnel in the building and make changes as he sees fit. We had that guy in Joe Gibbs for a while. Go find someone who can lead like Joe. Bring him home.
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