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The Effective Sideline Manager

March 16, 2001
Related Topics: Featured Article
Know when to step up, and when to take planning and participating in a team game plan.

Step 1: Recognize when it's game time.

Game time refers to:

  • Any time when you are not planning, preparing, teaching, or learning.Conversely, it is any time you are doing, implementing, or executing.

  • An event, action, or activity that:

    • Can't be interrupted.

    • You have planned or prepared for.

    • Is either the executable action listed in the game plan or is crucial tothe success of the game plan.

Step 2: Understand that your role as manager at game time is different fromany other time.


  • Lose objectivity by getting emotionally involved in a project, task, orundertaking.

  • Attempt to teach while employees are trying to execute. (Remember thatthe added pressure of game time performance can minimize the impact of yourlessons on your team.)

  • Try to correct mistakes. Save this for the next appropriate learningopportunity unless your employees are jeopardizing the game plan irreparably.

  • In many cases (such as when practice or lengthy discussions are required),it would be ineffective to attempt to correct mistakes during game time.

  • Otherwise interrupt the execution of the plan.

  • Be an unnecessary distraction.

  • Make corrections based primarily on "how I would've done it."


  • Analyze the actions of your staff and your team's progress toward theoverall objective (save your analysis and share it with your team only when theaction has subsided).

  • Make necessary adjustments and corrections to keep your team aligned, butdo so unobtrusively and only when you know that you can make an impact.

  • Be available as a resource.

  • Be a source of guidance, advice, and motivation.

  • Reinforce the game plan whenever possible.

  • Reinforce positive observations whenever possible.

  • Keep an eye on your identified opponents.

  • Plan the next "down time" learning opportunity.

  • Assess the support structure that you've developed (what's working andwhat's not working as expected).

  • Look for ways to remove obstacles for employees.

  • Maintain discipline and adherence to the game plan by unobtrusivelymaintaining the team's focus on the game plan and reemphasizing unitresponsibilities and individual assignments.

  • Step in when an employee has lost emotional control or is otherwise actingcontrary to the team playing style in a way that is compromising the executionof the game plan.

© 2001, The Center for Effective Performance,Inc.All rights reserved. Assistance on how to effectively implement these checklistsin your organization is available through a new one-day management seminarentitled How to Build A Championship Team at Work.

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