[IMGCAP(1)]If there’s one thing New York Mets manager Terry Collins taught us during the World Series, it’s to go with your gut.
Collins told star pitcher Matt Harvey his night was done after eight scoreless innings in Game 5 against the Kansas City Royals. But Harvey asked to go back on the mound. Collins reversed his decision and let Harvey return in the ninth. Ultimately it cost his team the win and the chance to continue the series.
This lesson couldn’t be more applicable to the workforce, especially in accounting where top talent is hard to come by. Some managers don’t want to upset their top performers, so they manage out of fear of losing them and give in to what they want as opposed to what is best for the firm or client. But that shouldn’t be the case.
Here are three reasons why it’s OK for managers to say no to their star player:
1. Experience trumps emotions. Collins has more than 20 years of experience as a manager. He has the insight that helped lead his team to the World Series for the first time since 2000. Yet he let Harvey sway his decision on how to manage his team. As Collins said after the game, he let his heart get in the way of his gut. It’s important that for managers listens to their staff’s input and takes it into consideration, but they shouldn’t let employees run the show. They have to look at the big picture and make a decision that’s best for the firm and the client, and stick with it.
2. There are times to push employees, and times to send them home. Harvey had thrown over 100 pitches through eight innings. He was clearly tired. Even if a star producer is asking for more responsibility, it’s up to their manager to realize when there’s too much on their plate. A top performer is a top performer for a reason. They never want to stop, they always want more. Managers have to read the warning signs of their staff, and understand when they’ve had enough. Then they need to explain to their producer why they’re saying no. Granted, there are times like busy season or month-end where employees will be pushed, and they can’t be sent home during lunch. So it’s important for managers to watch for signs of burnout among their staff and find ways to avoid it.
3. Managers know what’s right for their team. They don’t make decisions on a whim. They have facts behind their decisions, sometimes facts that individual contributors don’t see. Collins made sure he had a strong bench and developed all of his players. He knew that his backups could handle the situation and bring home the game. Sometimes, you need to let the “B” players step up to the plate...or the mound. When you have a strong bench, it’s OK to say no to a star player, especially when they need a break. The same goes at work. No matter how good a top performer is, the firm still needs to rely and count on staff to get the work done and establish relationships with clients. One person can’t carry all the weight, and other employees need their time to shine too.
Tom Gimbel is founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm headquartered in Chicago that specializes in accounting and finance. Gimbel is an expert on hiring and retention strategies, company culture and organizational development.
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