Win at any cost is a losing management style

George Steinbrenner, principal owner of the New York Yankees, told Manager Joe Torre yesterday to ‘findSteinbrenner
a way to win the Cleveland series or find a new job.’ Nice.

Steinbrenner is such an ass.

I know, I know. His teams win for him. And, he expects the team with the highest payroll in baseball to bring home a World Series trophy year-in and year-out. And, yes, I know that Yankees fans respect Big George because he does demand winning at all cost. But, I just couldn’t imagine working in that culture. The money, the fame and the Yankees ‘tradition’ wouldn’t be enough to lure me into that dysfunctional organization. Not no how. Not no way.

Imagine working for a Steinbrenner in Corporate America? They used to be legion (think Chainsaw Al Dunlap). But, as political correctness has reared its ugly head and workplace culture has been linked to everything from productivity to employee retention, the Steinbrenner-style manager has slowly disappeared (or, more likely, submerged).

That’s not to say management by fear is dead. Far from it. One of our client organizations, for example, recently underwent a merger and the key operatives were absolutely paralyzed by fear. Sudden ‘redundancies’ had put their jobs at risk. Despite having done admirable work up until that time, our clients’ firm was the lesser of two equals in this so-called merger of equals. And, so they were shown the door, virtually overnight.

Management has to do what it has to do to be efficient,
increase sales and profitability and, in the case of publicly-held
companies, satisfy Wall Street. I’d argue that the overnight
elimination of jobs is a less painful, more humane way of ‘winning at
all costs.’

The Steinbrenner management style of bullying, belittling and badgering
to wring the most out of beaten down employees is sad to observe.  But,
from an image and reputation standpoint, does it say more about the
man, the players or the fans that Steinbrenner continues to manage by
fear well into his late 70s?

Torre, A-Rod, Jeter and the rest have made their pact with the devil
and learned to live with it. The more curious question to ponder is why
some of their corporate counterparts still choose to work in such

One thought on “Win at any cost is a losing management style

  1. Some professors at my university try to get us to do our assignments on time by using scare tactics a la Steinbrenner. I can tell you that it doesn’t work for me or my friends. Management by fear is the wrong way to treat people as far as I’m concerned. Thanks for pointing out the inherent problems with the evil empire.