Case Study: shhhhh, we're using our inside voices. . .

Select Group and FIFA Referee Martin Atkinson was in charge of a recent Premier League match between Chelsea FC and West Ham United FC.  During the match, the referee dealt with a lot of dissent, particularly from Chelsea midfielder Jon Obi Mikel (#12).

Atkinson takes his usual calm and cool approach to dealing with Mikel when he pulls him aside for a chat about his behavior.

I call this case study to your attention for two reasons: first, is the calm, finger-on-lips rebuke to Mikel.  This is a classic case of trying to change behavior by modeling the behavior you want (as opposed to trying to talk over the player).  Second, Atkinson warns Mikel against further dissent, and then deals with it as promised when Mikel engages in dissent again a few minutes later.

The key learning points are:

  • Remain calm and composed when dealing with dissenting players
  • If you warn a player with the universal “no more” signal, be prepared to follow through

For the screen shots, I took some liberties with the dialog.  Hopefully you find it amusing without it detracting from the main points.

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