The Pros And Cons Of Being A Player-Manager

 With football fever gripping the nation at the moment, I thought I’d get a bit topical this week! There are many business lessons and analogies to be learned from football, but it was when David Moyes was brutally sacked as Manager of Manchester United, after just 10 months in post, and replaced by seasoned player Ryan Giggs that I began to think specifically about the role of the “player-manager”.

There are some obvious benefits to having someone like Giggsy as manager of a football team. For starters, Giggs joined Manchester United as a youth and has enjoyed a successful 24 season career; nobody knows the players, the opponents, the supporters, or the game better than he does. And with his wealth of experience as a player, captain and coach, he can also appreciate multiple perspectives and use this to his advantage.

But as player-manager, there are some inevitable challenges:

  • Your focus is split between the athlete and the strategist
  • Your role is less defined and the lines become blurred
  • You have twice as much pressure to deal with
  • It becomes difficult to be objective and make clear decisions
  • It’s twice as much work
  • Not to mention pretty exhausting!

Now, taking all this into consideration, what happens if we swap “football team” for “business”? Do the pros and cons remain the same?

Largely, yes! And whilst this arrangement might work for a period of time, success can only last for so long before you need to take a step back from the day-to-day and wholeheartedly commit to your role. The same goes for running your business.

But how do you make the transition? And how can you still get results from your business without your personal involvement at both a practical and managerial level?

  • Develop clear organisational roles: In football there are clearly defined positions, each with specific responsibilities during the game which combine to achieve success. Likewise in business, it is important to clearly define the organisational roles, including for yourself as the manager, and ensure that all team members are aware of what is expected of them in order that they can work together effectively.
  • Develop effective systems and procedures: Sports teams spend hours and hours honing their skills through training so that their actions become instinctive and automatic on game day. Having systems and procedures in place for each position in your business which can be followed and the results replicated, will help them to be super efficient and productive.
  • Ensure good communication: Having good communication systems with your team, like regular meetings, will allow you to build solid relationships, get regular progress updates and help to develop the skills and knowledge required to improve performance.
  • Facilitate efficient delegation: Most business owners have unintentionally developed their business to rely far too much on themselves. Learning how to delegate effectively not only frees up your time it is also essential to business growth. If you want to read more about delegation and where to start check out my blog post: First Steps To Delegation.

Are you a small business owner who is looking for someone to take on the day to day roles? Have you considered working with a virtual assistant? VA’s provide hands-on support with admin, marketing and research so that you can focus on your game, or in fact plan ahead for the whole season! 😉


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