Fall is upon us here in the Mid-West.  As a registered USA Hockey Official that means it is time for my re-certification.  Unbeknown to many coaches, parents and players every year I must sit though 6 hours of training, I must skate and take a test, to maintain my certification as USA Hockey Official.  I pay $80 a year for this privilege. Then I pay the state organization of MO & IL for the privilege of being able to referee their games.  So when it is all said and done I usually pay about $120 a year to be name called, jeered, belittled and second-guessed.  I am ok with that.  It is a conscious choice that I make.

As I think about what is in front of me as an official, I can’t help but think about my other gig HR – managing people, and workplace activities.

We bring people in, we promote them, we ask them to manage others. This is a promotion. You have done well at making widgets, so now we want you to help us manage those people who produce the widgets. And because you are a good widget maker, you will, no doubt, know how to motivate others to be good  widget makers.   As a Company, we are so sure of this, we will just leave you on your own to manage and motivate others to be as good of widget maker as you were – or not.

When I look at the dichotomy of these two situations I am almost speechless. If I don’t participate in the USA Hockey Clinic, take the test and pay to register with the governing bodies I will not be allowed to referee.  But in the workplace there are no mandates of competency.  You do not have to train, and you do not have to test.   The government at the Federal, State and Local Level has all of these mandates on this, that and the other thing. However there are no mandates on competencies for supervisors or managers.  Did not Frederick Taylor espouse this theory about 100 years ago; that there was some science to managing people and processes?

Bodies of government mandate training for numerous topics but not for management or supervision.  I think this should change.  Companies should be required to demonstrate that anyone who holds the title of manager or supervisor has some demonstrable core competencies in this area.  If not, anyone can have one of these jobs.  Ever had a boss that was clueless and didn’t know the first thing about managing people, or motivating folks? My guess is the answer is yes, somewhere along the line.

If skill sets must be learned and demonstrated to referee youth hockey, doesn’t it follow that you should have minimal demonstrated and documented abilities to manage people in the workplace, if this is going to be part of your daily work? I think so.