By Ann Boehm, November 13, 2019

In case you hadn’t heard, the Washington Nationals won the World Series!! Sorry Astros fans, but DC really needed this.  Now that I’ve almost recovered from the daily fog of staying up too late to watch seven baseball games, I’ve had some time to reflect on the win.  (Um, Ann, this is a federal employment law newsletter, not a sports journal.  What’s going on here?)

And so, I’ve concluded, good leadership is the key to success. (See, I’m getting there. I have lessons for you all.)

Before the Nationals started Game 1 of the World Series, I read an article about Nationals manager Dave Martinez and his exceptional leadership. “Things change, but Dave Martinez remains the even-keeled beating heart of the Nats,” by Chelsea James, Washington Post (October 24, 2019). One particular part of the article really hit home to me, and that’s the following:

[M]ultiple team executives and players offer unsolicited praise of his handling of people:  He doesn’t berate players. He doesn’t play mind games. He lets veterans lead how they see fit.  He stays positive. He smiles. He cares.

Well aren’t those some words to live by!

Federal managers, please read that paragraph again and again. Ask yourself if your employees could say the same about you. And if the answer is no, then do what Dave Martinez does.

We know that you have to deal with problem federal employees, and we do our best to help you handle performance and misconduct matters.  Sometimes you get frustrated by resistance from the human resources professionals and counsel who are risk averse, and we feel your pain. But no matter what, if you can try to run your organization a bit more like Dave Martinez runs the Washington Nationals, you may find that your employees take better care of you.

I’ve had my share of good and bad bosses throughout my career.  The good ones were a lot like Dave Martinez. The bad ones – polar opposites.  Even good employees are frustrated by bad managers.

Take a moment to think about how you run your organization, and see if you are doing what Dave does.

So let’s review:  Don’t berate.  Don’t play mind games.  Let veterans lead how they see fit. Stay positive. Smile. Care.  Let me know if it works! [email protected]

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