Marshawn Lynch

It’s the week before the Super Bowl and by now I’m sure all football fans have heard about Media Day and what happened regarding Marshawn Lynch.   For those who don’t know, Marshawn Lynch is the star running back of the Seattle Seahawks.   The Seahawks are competing against the New England Patriots in this Sunday’s Super Bowl. 

All season long Lynch has been “complying” with the NFL rule that mandates he speak with the media.  Basically it means that the media is afforded post-game access to the players as well as weekly locker room access among other things.  He complied by repeating the phrase, “I’m just hear so I won’t get fined” 29 times. 

Mr. Lynch is someone who would rather not speak to the media.  He just wants to play football.

The important note is that it’s the NFL that is fining Lynch, not the Seahawks.  It brings up the question, “Should the NFL stop forcing players to speak to media?”

What does this have to do with you?  Well, think about it.  If you manage a workforce, you no doubt have team members that don’t want to participate in certain company activities.  How you manage such situations will impact your relationship(s) with your team members going forward.

Here is what I mean: Marshawn Lynch is paid to play football.  He does that exceptionally well.  In fact, if it wasn’t for him the Seahawks would not even be in the Super Bowl.  The success of the Seahawks bodes well for the NFL as a whole.  Now, is it that important to force players to do certain things when there is so much more to be gained by ignoring the insignificant issues and focus the more important ones?  I know egos are involved and no one wants to be viewed as “weak” by letting the other person bully them but I learned a long time ago to pick my battles. 

Why not put your team member(s) in a position to shine where he or she feels more comfortable?

One way to accomplish this could be to stage tasks into small bite-sized segments.  We’ve all heard about eating an elephant one bite at a time. This strategy is so basic yet underutilized for some reason.  In an office environment, it is all too common to toss large complex jobs at our colleagues and wonder why we receive so much ill-will in return.

Another strategy could be to show a little light at the end of the tunnel.  What are these unpleasant duties going to lead to?  Will your team have the opportunity to build any useful skills from this?  Many tasks become easier over time as people improve their abilities.  It’s bad enough that unpleasant tasks tend to distract workers from their regular duties. Workers often have to learn new processes or dig up information that has long-since been discarded.  Provide some idea of what will be gained from all of this.

Where’s the prize?  You’re putting your team member(s) through some unpleasant tasks.   They need to receive something tangible on the other end.  What would be an appropriate reward?  Well, that depends on the person. How well do you know your staff?  The reward needs to be appropriate for the recipient.  

How do you work with your staff to get them to comply with tasks that they find unpleasant?

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