How to Publicly Criticize Your Employees the Way Phil Jackson Does

Phil Jackson, who has won more championships than any other professional basketball coach, had some things to say recently about how the New York Knicks have been playing.

Unfortunately, he told the world about it on Twitter, like someone complaining about bad dinner service at a hotel restaurant (via the New York Daily News):

Phil Jackson’s moves and Carmelo Anthony’s injury have left the Knicks without much of a chance to win many games for the remainder of the season, but that didn’t stop the Zen Master from expressing his displeasure following Sunday’s 101-83 loss to the Cavaliers.

Each NBA game is an opportunity for players to show their “best” nature and please the basketball gods…and those who know what “It takes,”” Jackson tweeted Sunday night on his @philjackson11 account. “Today’s game vs Cavs gave bb gods heartburn and those that know what “it” takes/means a smh.”

Being critical on Twitter is distracting

The Knicks are a bad basketball team, approximately a lifetime away from .500, and one of the worst teams in a league where the Philadelphia 76ers look like some of the NBA Summer League rosters I saw in Vegas.

Of course, Jackson knows this. He’s the president of the Knicks and has been instrumental in ensuring that this would be a miserable season for the Madison Square Garden faithful.

It may be with a plan in mind — after all, the Knicks weren’t title-bound before Jackson showed up — but they were going to be a bad team that is going to occasionally show some flashes of listlessness. An 82-game grind of a season on a crappy team will do that to even some of the most professional players.

Maybe Jackson expects better energy from the players on his team. Maybe he is trying to get in somebody’s head. Either way, the choice of venue for his comments are distracting for a team and reminds me of some of the young managers I’ve dealt with who didn’t know how and when to criticize their employees.

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One of them made it a habit of doing it at a regular Monday meeting in front of everyone. There wasn’t enough coffee in the world to deal with a Monday like that.

It doesn’t always work

For Phil Jackson truthers and believers, they’ll tell us, “He knows what he is doing. He knows how to motivate people. He knows when to take something public and when to keep it in-house.”

To that, I say OK. Great. But just because it worked for Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant doesn’t mean it’ll work for this band of not so great players (and a currently shut down Carmelo Anthony).

This originally appeared at Lance Haun’s (Life Between the Brackets) blog.

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