Danger! Bill Belichick, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos & Nick Saban "Wannabes"

I received a surprising number of comments in response to Friday’s blog about Patriot’s Coach Bill Belichick.

Most just appreciated the message, but several said they know or work for people just like Belichick, and this made me smile.

I smiled b/c I read about or meet people all the time who try to channel the personalities of America’s most famous coaches and CEOs, and it rarely goes well.

Apple founder Steve Jobs was notoriously cantankerous, and willing to viciously dress down most anyone for anything.

Here are “16 examples of Steve Jobs being a huge jerk!”

Similarly, Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos has zero patience for mistakes of any kind, he demands ridiculous hours and he publicly insults subordinates.

I highly recommend the excellent book about Bezos and Amazon called The Everything Store.

Belichick is crusty, overly frank and downright ruthless, as I mentioned Friday.

And Alabama Coach, Nick Saban, runs a militant operation with zero tolerance for tardiness or most anything else running counter to the party line of “excellence.”

He too will not hesitate to publicly berate assistants.

Given the extraordinary success of these men, why shouldn’t all of us emulate them?

It seems to me that very brusque and abusive management styles only work if:

  1. You are a proven genius in your field;
  2. You are able to offer huge seven-figure (or larger) payouts for your subordinate’s efforts;
  3. You are able to offer extraordinary career opportunities to your subordinates;
  4. You are able to offer national championships or industry dominance; and
  5. You are willing to risk losing talented subordinates b/c the above factors allow you to recruit more talent very easily.

Barring most of the above factors, abusive management styles really just subject leaders to turbulent office environments, unproductive cultures, the exodus of talent, and even lawsuits.

I have seen all of these situations play out all too many times. I even personally experienced this when my own management style was too brusque.

Here is a great WSJ article about Nick Saban’s management style, and how it fosters a “brain drain” (exodus of talent) at Alabama.

SO, if you work for a Belichick/Jobs/Bezos/Saban “wannabe” who is not a genius, you might want to look for a new job.

And, if you are a leader of any sort looking for the most effective management style, you might want to consider something more respectful.

Unless of course you’re an 80-hour-per-week, industry-dominating genius offering eight-figure payouts.

Jay Voorhees
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(855) 855-4491 | DRE# 01524255, NMLS# 310167

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