Sunday Snippet: Casey Stengel (1890-1975)

“The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided.”

Born Charles Dillon Stengel, Casey “The Old Professor” Stengel was a professional baseball player and manager with American Major League Baseball. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966, “Casey” is best known for his time in New York, managing both the Yankees and the Mets.

The quote above, then, comes from the context of managing a baseball club, but it could just as easily apply to any sort of professional organization. Casey Stengel knew that life was a matter of perspective and balance. No matter what you do, you’re going to have your fans and you’re going to have the folks who don’t like you as much. And then, you have the people on the fence.

While you could spend the time trying to convince those who “hate” you to think otherwise, you’ll likely get a better return by focusing on the people who haven’t yet decided on their opinion of you. The interesting thing is that by swaying these folks and hopefully forming a larger majority with the people who already like you, you may be in a better position to then persuade the naysayers to join your side.

For my part, running a freelance business of one is more about managing client preferences and managing my time, there is still management involved. I still have to manage my online reputation. I still have manage my relationship with my customers and colleagues. As much as you’d like to believe that what other people think of you doesn’t matter, it does, especially if you’re in business.

The corporate world has a lot in common with the world of politics in this regard. It may not be a popularity contest, per se, but it’s a heck of a lot easier to be a “good” manager when your staff likes and respects you.