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Ed O'Malley

Ed O'Malley

A former state legislator and gubernatorial aide, Ed O’Malley is President and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center, a first-of-its-kind training center charged with fostering large-scale civic leadership for healthier communities. He tweets at eomalley.

Will he get back up?

In response to the question: Can you strip a leader of responsibility without completely undermining him or her?

It is not a doomed strategy, but it's success depends almost entirely on Coach Zorn. Whether it was an objective of the owner or not, Coach Zorn has been undermined, and now the owner must hope the coach has the leadership competence to regroup and move the team forward.

No doubt Coach Zorn has been on the opposite side of this situation countless times. A running back fumbles too often and is benched. A defensive back is awful at defending the run and is only brought in for obvious passing downs. A kicker misses too many field goals and is demoted to kick-off specialist only. Like those situations, success will depend on Coach Zorn's ability to manage himself, despite the ego-crushing blow, in service to his team.

The owner's move diminishes Coach Zorn's credibility among his players and coaches. Whether this strategy works for the betterment of the team is primarily up to Coach Zorn. The coach needs to see it as not about him, but the team. He should see it not as a rebuke, but an opportunity to focus on other aspects of the game. Rather than be undermined, by modeling the behavior he would like to see from his players after they have been stripped of responsibility, Coach Zorn will actually enhance his ability to lead this team. Chances of success in the case? Slim, but doable, and it is almost entirely up Coach Zorn.

Coaches, owners, bosses and other authority figures beware: Once you engage in this strategy success is almost completely out of your hands and in the hands of the very person you just undermined.

By Ed O'Malley

 |  October 26, 2009; 1:35 PM ET
Category:  Sports Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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What are you smoking?

Posted by: lovescheese | October 27, 2009 8:30 PM
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What's in it for Zorn? Sure, he can try and rally the players, but there's not trust. Why should Zorn ever think that Snyder will stand by him? When will Snyder do some other hatchet job on him? Whatever happened to hiring somebody and trusting them to do the job. It was Snyder who hired him, not the other way round.

Posted by: atidwell | October 26, 2009 2:51 PM
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