What Matt Williams Reminded Me About Leadership

Matt Williams was fired yesterday as the manager of the Washington Nationals. His tenure was at best, mixed. In 2014, he was Manager of Year, but the Nats lost early in the playoffs. A year later the mistakes that plagued Williams in the postseason only got worse as expectations were heightened but were not met. Because of that the Nats will sit at home this October. 

Williams rigidness towards managing was met with confusion and frustration by the players he was charged to lead. Employees can be very forgiving when one decision seems questionable, but when management behaves in a pattern that is unyielding to circumstances and situations, then leadership ultimately fails. Williams is a good example of that.

His dismissal reminds me of two simple lessons when it comes to leadership:

  1.  Not all situations are the same; and
  2.  You need to evolve as a leader.

 If you think "rigid" is a good adjective for leadership, just look at this google search.

Yeah, that's not good. 

Evolving your leadership skills will allow to correct any mistakes and learn how to navigate properly through any given situation. Evolving will put you in a better position to help your teammates and ultimately your organization.  

Just the willingness to evolve is an attractive trait in any person. Inflexibility and rigidness, especially in the face of challenges, are quite the opposite. Williams's quick downfall should be a reminder of both points. 

Apparently his inflexibility was just a work characteristic. The most glaring statement about this saga was one Nats player who was quoted as saying, "Matt's a good guy off the field." 


Don't let rigidness get in the way of effective leadership, or disguise who you are as a person. Evolve and know not every situation needs to be met with the same solution or approach.