Center for Ethics and Leadership

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Charlie Manuel's Leadership

This post will not engage the formal theories of leadership that have been developed. It is more a reflection on watching a leader closely and noticing the results. For those of you who don't know, Charlie Manuel is the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, baseball's current champions. Like many Phillies' fans, I spent the first few years of Manuel's tenure wondering what he was doing. Of course, nothing convinces like success, and last year his team won it all, thereby shifting the burden of proof squarely onto the shoulders of his critics.

Manuel manages by trusting his professionals to be internally motivated to perform at the highest level. At least I think that is the unspoken theory. Consequently, even when they underachieve, he gives them time to recover.

His is not a hands-off philosophy, however. For example, he stuck with Pat Burrell through thick and thin, and the biggest payoff was Burrell's double in the clinching game of the World Series that was the eventual winning run. Burrell is not with the team this year, and in retrospect, as much as we all liked him, he had to go. Similarly, Manuel has moved Jimmy Rollins from his preferred spot as leadoff hitter to sixth in the batting order in an attempt to help Rollins emerge from his batting slump.

Yet these decisions come when circumstances dictate their necessity. Manuel's basic stance is to let people play with the knowledge that there will be good performances and bad. The result? It is common knowledge throughout major league baseball that players love to play for Charlie Manuel. And his previous team, the Cleveland Indians of the mid-90s, did very well, too.

Maybe this is just confirmation of the cliche: hire good people and then trust them to do the job. Whatever it is, it seems to work.


  • I'll leave my loyalties in the Bronx, they are not known for their leadership or management style(s) but they play some great baseball.

    By Blogger kobe2, At June 23, 2009 5:23 PM  

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