It’s around this time of year that the allure of the new football season pulls me in. Fantasy football is a guiltless vice that I continue to indulge. This ephemeral diversion of the imaginary management of over-paid athletes is closer to the trials and tribulations of real life management than you may think. Many parallels can be drawn between the two.
There are many things that fantasy football can teach managers of any age and experience. The balance required in selecting players in different positions with different skillsets. Managing budgets. The management of change, knowing how and when to transfer players in and out of your side. Managing transfers in particular can serve as a lesson in humility - something every good manager has plenty of.
Should you persevere with a player that is scoring no points in the hope of an upsurge in form, or admit your mistake in selecting them and use a transfer? One of your executives may be following a similar trajectory. There is a fine balance to be struck when it comes to staying the course and conceding error - even if, with your support, one of the team that you selected is struggling, it may be time for a change. A little stubbornness is an asset to any manager, but too much is a fatal managerial flaw.
This season, one of the more popular fantasy platforms has introduced a ‘draft’ feature, in which you have less control over the players you select and over transfers once you have them. I have presided over departments that have hired managers externally, managers who face similar challenges to those imposed by the ‘draft’ feature. Usually they will inherit rather than build their own team.
Often, they will be managing staff that were passed over for internal promotion in favour of themselves. If you’re not careful, this can readily breed resentment. Make it a priority to acknowledge the strengths of those in your team in areas that you may be lacking proficiency. Rely and delegate, ensuring that your team members recognise their value, in order to head off mutinous feeling down the road.
While I am in no way suggesting that fantasy football offers a complete managerial blueprint, there are certainly valuable lessons to be learnt by managers in any industry. Oh, and my team name? Pique Blinders.
Jonathan Fitchew is CEO of Pareto Law