Why The Belichick Style Doesn't Work Anymore By Andy Meadows

As they continue to move more into the live-event space Netflix hosted the roast of Tom Brady Sunday night. It didn’t disappoint, host Kevin Hart set the tone early attacking everything from the divorce to Tom’s crypto-currency scandal and, outside of Ben Afleck’s odd rant, most of the roasters crushed as well. One of the surprise guests was none other than recently-fired Patriot’s coach Bill Belichick, who was a good sport for showing up and even got in a couple strong jabs of his own while taking heavy incoming fire in-stride. On his show Monday Rich Eisen, who was there, accurately labeled the live event a ‘Patriots therapy session’. In front of millions of people virtually everyone involved in the dynasty, the superstar, a supporting cast of players, the coach and even the owner chose this forum to air their grievances. To me the fact that this therapy session was needed in the first place further solidified an opinion I have on coaching. While it did work incredibly well at one point, the Bill Belichick ‘my way or the highway’ style of coaching doesn’t work anymore. Here’s why and how this applies to radio.

Treating employees like grown-ups instead of like children is much more likely to yield lasting results. We’re all adults here, and we’re all professionals, talking down to someone and belittling them may get some personality types to change their behavior and actions in the short term but it won’t work long-term or on most personality types. Plus, it creates an unhealthy working environment that can lead to lawsuits and hurt the perception of the station within the community when word of that environment spreads, which it generally does.

One of the knocks on my coaching style is that I’m too positive. I’ve been told I point out too many of the things talent are doing well in proportion to how many ‘things to work on’ I mention. Maybe there’s some truth to that and I’ve always been open to adjusting my style since I try to customize it a bit for each individual situation anyway. But, overall I’ve found that when working with performers, which all good on-air talent are, you should always lead with bragging about the things they’re excelling at and then go over anywhere from one to three things they could improve on. This approach causes most talent, but admittedly not all, to quickly realize that we’re on their side, we’re all working toward the same goal (because we also look good if their show improves) and makes them look forward to our aircheck sessions instead of dreading them. I also like to make a good portion of the meeting forward focused to brainstorm upcoming ideas instead of rehashing the past the whole time.

Morale within our industry is seemingly at an all-time low. Which is why I believe now would be a perfect time to apply this same management style across the board within our buildings and across our departments. On-air personalities aren’t the only ones who need feedback in one-on-ones regularly and everyone is more receptive to constructive criticism when it’s proceeded by a list of things we’re patting them on the back for doing well.

Yes, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with calling out behavior that breaks the rules and actively damages the radio station’s ability to conduct business, but that can still be done calmly and respectfully. If we find ourselves regularly having to scream at our employees to keep them inline, we should either find new employees or look in the mirror and ask whether we’re overreacting and need to change our own behavior.

What do you think, does the Bill Belichick style of coaching still work and how do you approach managing and coaching your employees? Comment below or email me at Andy@RadioStationConsultant.com.

Pic designed by frimufilms for Envato Elements.

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