Flopping and Leadership

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We are now entering the third day of the 2014 Men’s World Cup. If you follow soccer (futbol or football) at all, you are probably familiar with the term “flop” or its synonym “dive.” If you are a fan of professional basketball, you probably witness a good flop or two in every game too. (To offer a quick definition it is basically when one fakes a foul or pretends that they were hurt or offended, and often in an overly dramatic way.) The question about flopping and leadership came to me though in watching the first match of this year’s World Cup between Brazil and Croatia.

It's pretty clear that the "fouled" Fred went down on his own accord without being pushed. Isn't it?
It’s pretty clear that the “fouled” Fred went down on his own accord without being pushed. Isn’t it?

Brazil was awarded a penalty kick because of a foul that was called within the box (meaning in the area right in front of the goal). Because of that penalty kick opportunity, Brazil was able to take the lead and ultimately win the match even though it seemed that Croatia had played far better than Brazil. The only problem with this situation is that in the eyes of just about everyone around the world (except perhaps a few die-hard Brazilian fans and their coaching staff), no penalty should have been called.

I could say more about this, but I think you get the idea. In light of this, I am wondering about the implications for leadership. Do you ever flop or take a dive in your leadership? If so, when and why? What might this look like and what are the results?

A flop or dive by some is viewed as “just part of the game.” However, I imagine if done in daily life it would be seen as an example of one lacking integrity and honesty. It would be like someone saying, “I am hurting so I can’t do my job this minute,” and then finding out two minutes later that they are perfectly fine. Or, think of someone calling in and claiming to be taking a sick day and then finding out they are perfectly healthy. (This is not the case of a personal day, because if you claim a personal day then you are being honest about the situation if you say, enjoy a day at the ballpark, etc.)

In thinking about the potential positives of a dive or flop, the only possible example might be that one does that on a rare occasion to get others on their team to step up, fill in and lead. Maybe in that case it can be a positive example of empowering and encouraging people to do a little more if they see an opportunity and need to perform. This couldn’t be a regular occurrence though because that positive effect would wear thin if team members were to catch on to the “behind the scenes” motivation idea. Does that make sense? Would it ever be worthwhile though really to take a dive or flop in leadership? What do you think?

Other than the hypothetical motivation example, I am hard pressed to come up with an example of flopping or diving being a good thing in leadership or daily life. Can you come up with a good example?

Image Credit: Foul or no foul?

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