Friday, February 21, 2014


So how quickly do you want to get away from your boss today?

The Boss from Hell can make you yearn for the weekend or an out-of-town leadership retreat. The meetings, the rules, the meetings ... all of it motivating you to work just hard enough not to get fired.

Then there's Rays boss Joe Maddon, who looks like a hip Berkeley professor with those black-rimmed glasses and far-out lingo. When was the last time your boss dropped "overboogieing''? As in, "Chip, you're overboogieing our multimillion dollar account. Take the rest of the day off.''

Maddon would look perfect in a tie-dyed Rays hoodie and Bill Lee as his bench coach. It's casual day every day in Tampa Bay. Last year, he opened the clubhouse to some penguins and a 20-foot python.

Most major-league managers would just as soon feed guests to the lions.

Like all managers this spring, Maddon's living out of a 40-foot RV at the spring training complex in Port Charlotte, Fla. And like all control freaks, he has a long list of rules.
  1. Run hard to first.
  2. Play defense.
Any questions?

He's a two-time Manager of the Year because he puts people in the best position to succeed and efficiently communicates why it's best for the team. In the workplace, Maddon surely wouldn't ask an employee to do something he wouldn't do himself. He's all about earning respect, not demanding it.

He catches some flak from the old-school community for his easy-going ways and wine-and-cheese lifestyle. Former Nationals manager Davey Johnson once called him a "weird wuss.'' We fans demand answers and swift action after defeat. Heads must roll. Maddon doesn't act on a whim or overreact to the three-game losing streak because baseball rewards those who handle failure best. 

He's loyal.



You know, everything the average fan and bad boss isn't.

Hire the right people and trust they will do the right thing. It's a strategy that would guarantee results at a Fortune 500 company or the local Denny's. It has in Tampa Bay. Despite one of the lowest payrolls, the Rays have benefited from GM Andrew Friedman's sabermetric approach to finding undervalued talent and Maddon's people skills to win at least 90 games in five of the last six seasons.

You can quibble with his strategy and lineup tinkering, but you can't deny Maddon's knack for wringing the most from his players while remaining one of the most decent human beings in the game. A quick listen to any of his pre- and post-game interviews bears this out. 

Sounds like a boss who would be loved -- and respected -- in any profession. 

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