While I am writing this, the San Francisco Giants are in the World Series. We in San Francisco have become a bit superstitious (in a good way) about even-numbered years… 2010, 2012….2014, we hope we hope!
How did they get from there to here? There: Inconsistent, up and down season, lots of injuries, many surprising mistakes, and who could forget the June gloom and Summer Slump? Here: They always held on to first or second place in the Western league, and now they are in the World Series. How did they get from there to here? What is the Giants’ secret sauce?
I have a single answer. Not the great pitchers, not the good picks of talent during August, not the dependable Buster Posey or the newest darling of the team, Hunter Pence, not the many individually talented professionals that compose this team. Not the veterans or all the newbies. Perhaps all of those things but what is the one irreplaceable ingredient in the Giants’ Secret Sauce?
My humble opinion: The Skipper-Manager: Bruce Bochy. He is everything that a good manager of any team should be: Even-tempered, fair, intelligent, protective of his brood, proud, experienced, engaged and downright talented!
In my profession, I have opportunities to observe many managers and would love to share a page from the Bruce Bochy playbook with them. Along with his even-tempered personality, he always has the players’ backs . . . and they have his. They succeed not only for themselves but for him.
In organizations, there is an old adage: Employees leave managers, not companies. Many of us have experienced lower-paying jobs that we loved because the owners trusted and appreciated us. Sometimes we even stayed with them longer than was prudent for our careers, simply because we thrived on the feeling that we were making an important contribution. Likewise, we may find ourselves frustrated in a higher-paying position in which we feel undervalued. A hostile work environment leaves us feeling exhausted at the end of each day, and we leave that place as soon as possible, high pay notwithstanding.
Of course, in the Bruce Bochy scenario, the players have the best of both worlds – good pay AND encouraging management. But good pay alone cannot build a team that gives 100%. Regardless of the financial element, the “secret sauce” contains support and the confidence that comes from being relied upon and given credit. Ironically, it costs no money to empower one’s staff with these positive attributes. Ideally every job would bring both high salary and high satisfaction, but if only one can be had, the satisfaction is ultimately more important. Treat an employee with respect and gratitude, and the manager is repaid by loyalty and maximum effort.