Would You Have Sacked Claudio Ranieri? What Employers Can Learn From Leicester

Would You Have Sacked Claudio Ranieri? What Employers Can Learn From Leicester

24 February 2017

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The sacking of Claudio Ranieri by Leicester Football Club sent shockwaves around the footballing world last night.

The Italian had – just nine months previously – led the team to an unprecedented 5000/1 Premier League title. And, despite a midweek loss to Sevilla, they club have made it in to the last sixteen of the Champions League.

But it was their domestic struggles – they are now one point above the relegation drop zone – that has seen the 65 year old seeking new employment.

Many fans – including club legend Gary Lineker – are absolutely shocked. They are still eternally grateful for that euphoric title win last year. Yes, this season has been more difficult, but not many of them can honestly say that they expected to romp to victory two seasons in a row.

It seems, at the very least, like the club have been disrespectful over one of their most successful managers.

Football analogies are ten a penny but these headlines got us thinking: How soon would you get rid of an employee who wasn’t achieving? Say they were still on probation and had smashed most, but not all, of their targets. Is that grounds for dismissal? What about an employee who had been with you for a couple of years who had undone previous successes with a run of poor performances?

How many chances do you give a person?

In Ranieri’s case, it seems like nothing but continuous accolades would appease the board. But, in reality, can you honestly expect an employee to tremendously over deliver month in, month out? Yes, there is an expectation of meeting targets but when the weight of that expectation is beyond reasonable, are you still entitled to be disappointed if the employee in question doesn’t deliver?

Any leadership blog or book will tell you that, in any case, you should do two things: Find the root cause of the problem and correct botched expectations.

In Ranieri’s case, he had a team full of players who were cocky with their title win and were willing to rest on their laurels. He admitted this in recent press conferences. And as for botched expectations … well, I think it’s clear that Leicester were never going to be able to repeat that runaway success (especially given the way Manchester Utd, Manchester City and Chelsea bolstered both their teams and their management).

The former Juventus and Roma boss was set up to fail this season – and that’s something that employers should really consider when adjusting or setting targets for their staff. One good month does not equal a lifetime of success.

There was no support network for Ranieri: another sin that companies cannot be allowed to commit. There should always be some sort of advice or one-to-one that can allow an employer to thoroughly work through any issues.

For now, Ranieri will head for pastures new, consoling himself that he was the man behind Leicester’s historic title win. Let’s just hope his next employer sets more reasonable KPIs. 

Written By Mary Palmer

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