LEADERSHIP / SEP. 23, 2013
version 5, draft 5

Is Bad Management to Blame for Di Canio’s Dismissal from Sunderland?

Paolo Di Canio has been sacked as Sunderland manager after only six months in charge. With Sunderland facing huge challenges – since the team sees itself at the bottom of Premiere League – Di Canio engaged in a serious row with his players in a meeting aiming to analyze the previous day's 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion. The manager condemned his players for their bad performance but Lee Cattlemole, Sunderland’s midfielder retaliated firmly by telling Di Canio that the squad has lost faith in his controversial techniques. The row was the cause of Di Canio’s dismissal. But there are definitely more issues concerning why Di Canio failed to flourish in Sunderland.

Bad decision-making

Di Canio was asked to sign 14 players during the summer by the Sunderland’s director of football Roberto De Fanti, but unluckily 13 of those who were recruited were foreign and only five had previous experience in Premiere League. Not to mention that these players did not like him and didn’t want to play for him. The Italian coach is said to have told his ‘unhappy’ players to tell the club’s hierarchy to sack him if they didn’t want him in charge.

Well, in this case, I would argue that an ideal recruiter should carefully examine the profile of the persons he wants to hire and above all thoroughly research the marketplace in order to find the best people for the job.

Bad communication

The Italian coach’s failure to communicate properly with his team players and fans was at the expense of creating team spirit and achieving important team goals. Di Canio used to emphasize players’ mistakes in public and once accused his players of having ‘rubbish in their brains’.

Ha? Is this how an outstanding manager should behave? Of course not! A good manager should certainly give feedback to his employees (or players in the case of football) in a civilized ethos which will not embarrass them. It is also important that the feedback provided by the manager should remain behind closed doors and not be spread to public using words that can trigger controversy.

Egoism and irresponsibility

Also, the former Swindon manager tended to adopt a ‘someone else is to blame’ attitude, never recognizing his own pitfalls and taking his own responsibility. He once stated: “Someone in 10th position can get sacked, but I am not worried about my job. But I am worried about the results” while another time said: “You will have to ask the board about me. They will of course ask why we are bottom of the table and think about their decisions”.

Come on! A perfect manager will never blame others but himself first! A model of impeccable management, organization and dependability, will always acknowledge his responsibilities and self-assess his actions. But this on the other hand, calls for a self-aware and reliable personality.

It is true that some managers are sacked because they lack certain characteristics vital for boosting team spirit as well as motivating and empowering employees. But oftentimes, a manager can get the boot where his employees lose all respect and loyalty for him. It is therefore vital that if you are incharge of a group of people, that you earn their respect as much as they need to earn yours. 

What else in your opinion can make a manager fail? Please comment.


Photo taken from www.theguardian.com 

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