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It’s the most wonderful time of the year … football season! In my house, it’s all football, all the time – college football (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday), pro football (Sunday, Monday and Thursday), NFL Total Access, ESPN Game Day etc. My husband and I even watched HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” a show following the Atlanta Falcons through their preseason.

In one episode, the special teams coach reviewed footage from a preseason game with his players. The coach was animated and repeatedly cursed loudly to express his disappointment with their performance and his expectations for the next game. The players had no response. They either looked straight ahead or down at their play books.

This type of critical and intimidating “dressing down” of employees appears to be acceptable in professional football. However, it is not what employees should endure at work and is not what most organizations expect from their leaders. (This is why helmets are not worn at work!) Organizations look for leaders who inspire, motivate, support, empower and engage employees in a positive manner to do their personal best to drive and achieve business results.

So, I have a “game day” challenge for HR professionals: Identify the leaders in your organization who meet this expectation. Take actions to support and expand their efforts. Conversely, determine which leaders in your organization use intimidation, micromanagement and disapproval to manage their employees. Establish procedures to facilitate a positive shift toward engagement and empowerment for these employees. This is not to say that employees who are underperforming should not be criticized. They should. But they should be spoken to professionally.

For underperforming leaders, a positive change in management style can have a tangible effect on employee productivity and satisfaction. As Gallup reported in its 2013 State of the American Workplace Report, employers with engaged employees have higher profitability, higher productivity and faster, more sustainable growth. Positive change can also reduce the likelihood of legal claims from employees who attempt to frame their leaders’ harsh management style as a facade for unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

So are you ready for some football?

As an aside, I will be presenting a “New Claim on the Horizon: Family Responsibilities Discrimination” at our Miami office on September 17th.   If you have not already done so, please register here for the in-person session or here for the webinar. I look forward to seeing you there!