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The buck stops with………..someone else


So what have Melissa from The Apprentice and Roy Hodgson got in common?

Both appear to have a problem accepting responsibility for things going wrong. Instead they have a tendency to point the finger of blame elsewhere, which is a sign of someone who is not capable of, or willing to learn from mistakes.


In a recent episode of The Apprentice Melissa was fired by Alan Sugar following a dismal performance in the sales task that was set for them. Jamie the project manager of her team decided to take over the sales pitch after Melissa failed to listen to their customers and annoyed them by continuing to try and sell them a product that was clearly not suitable for them. Melissa's reaction?

“I have a very, very strong skill set and if you’re threatened by me that is your business but don’t set out to undo me, I’m not having it. He thinks he can do a better job than me at my job? Idiot!”

Watching the whole episode and the follow up show on BBC 2, it was quite clear that Melissa didn’t believe she had done anything wrong and therefore did not deserve to be sacked. In her eyes her team losing the task had absolutely nothing to do with her.


Since starting as Liverpool manager Roy has come under increasing pressure and he has come out with a variety of comments which demonstrate this, such as his criticism of the team he put out against Northampton when they lost on penalties. Here he is building up his team’s confidence following victory against Blackburn recently:

“With the team we have at the moment, if people expect us to really play a lot better football than we did for 70 minutes at the start of the Blackburn game they are going to be asking a lot.”

He seems to be taking every opportunity to criticise the players he has and to make it clear that he is not the problem. Here are some comments from a recent press conference when he was asked about his transfer plans for January:

“We have got a lot more expensive failures on our list than good players that we have brought in for next to nothing.”

The vast majority of the players who have played for Liverpool this season, are the same players who finished second 2 seasons ago with a record points total, and is also the same squad that had the largest number of players from the premier league at the world cup this summer. Instead of building up his players Roy seems to spend his time building up himself by referring to his 35 years experience in the game:

“To suggest that suddenly because you move from one club to another, the methods that have stood you in good stead for 35 years and made you one of the most respected coaches in the Europe suddenly don’t work.”

Leadership experts, such as Peter Drucker, identify a number if traits inherent in really successful leaders. Melissa and Roy would do well to take heed of at least two of them:

  • The best leaders never stop learning and are relentless in their desire to acquire new skills and challenge the methods they use.
  • They take responsibility for decisions and the actions of their team. If decisions don’t produce the desired results they don’t look to automatically blame the performance of those involved.

Melissa has already fallen by the wayside, it remains to be seen what will happen to Roy, after all he does have 35 years experience in managing struggling teams!

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