• Refs have to train, why not Managers

    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.

  • War Stories from the Ice Rink

    As the HROfficial I haven’t really brought hockey into the blog much, but I have a couple short “war stories” from the rink that have occurred recently and I felt the need to share.

     Story number one is this.  I am preparing to referee a tournament game.  For those of you who are not involved in the sport let me give a few little nuggets about the game.  Parents pay a lot of money for their kids to participate.  Parents dedicate a lot of time and travel to playing.  Coaches sometimes play favorites and your kid may benefit from this – or may get the short end of the deal.

     Ok now were at the game, as I prepare to walk on the ice, one of the coaches asks to speak to me.  He openly and honestly says to me, “Ref – were gonna get killed in this game.”   He then asked me to watch out for his player so they did not get hurt.  There are four teams in the tournament.  I am talking to the coach from team A.  He told me yesterday team C played Team DTeam D beat team C by 10 goals.   Also yesterday the coach of Team A played team C and got beat by more than 10 goals.  So given that scenario Team D is could or should beat Team A by 20+ goals; a blood bath by any definition.

     Without trying to give anyone a competitive advantage or disadvantage I explained the concerns of the Team A Coach to Team D head coach. He looked at me and smiled and nodded.  Unsure what that meant it was unclear as to how the game would play out.  Team D scored 3 goals in the first period.  They did a lot of passing and working the puck. The game ended 8-0.  Team D could have beat team A by 25 goals but the coach made sure it didn’t go down that way.   After the handshake at the end of the game I spoke to the coach of Team D and told him that was by far the greatest display of sportsmanship I had seen in the last ten years.  He smiled.  He went home, and so did I – only I went home with a renewed faith in humanity!

     The second story is much shorter.  At the start of each game, the Referees must interact with both coaches checking rosters and getting signatures.  I choose to introduce myself, shake hands with each of the coaches and then wish them “good luck”.    As I shook hands with one of the coaches he was pressing a pre-positioned object into my hand.  As I pulled away and opened my hand I found a small tootsie roll.  The coach looked at me a smiled and said”It’s to make you sweeter.”  I smiled and told him that was good.  At this point I don’t even recall if his team won or lost.  Again I went home with a renewed faith in humanity.

     It is the people like this involved in the sport that make me was to continue to referee until I have to skate with a walker.