Liverpool FC, and more specifically manager Brendon Rogers, was in the headlines a few weeks back, but it wasn’t because of goals or defence tactics. No, rather it was a much more mundane side of management: holiday approval.
Work doesn’t always come first
For those who missed it, Rogers allowed one of Liverpool’s top players, Raheem Sterling, to go on holiday mid season and miss both an FA Cup match against AFC Wimbledon and a league match against Sunderland.
Rogers was hounded with criticism and consternation. Why on earth would you let a top player go and hang out on a Jamaican beach at peak playing time?
Rogers responded as any great manager would:
It was not a physical rest, more a mental rest for a young player that has had so much thrown on him…This is about the boy’s life and his career, plenty of people will probably comment on it, but I’m only worried what we do for the kid.
The proof is in the performance
Despite such a justified and valiant defence, however, many remained skeptical about Rogers’ decision to allow a holiday at peak time. That is, until Sterling returned.
In his first game back against league leaders, Chelsea, Sterling scored a superb goal that gave Liverpool a morale-boosting draw.
‘He’s come back refreshed and ready for a big second half to the season,’ asserted Rogers after the game.
Approving holiday in peak time is inevitable
The thing is, when it comes to your best players – whether on a pitch or in a boardroom – it’s always going to feel like a critical time when they want to go away. Their very talent can be their downfall, since they’re seen as essential for every project, meeting and moment.
Unfortunately, it’s premiere players that therefore run the biggest risk of burnout, and as a manager you have to balance the importance of their presence with their long-term ability to bring value to your team.
Take a step back, approve some holiday in peak time, and watch your top talent come back better than ever.
(Hat tip to Raheem Sterling’s Instagram account for his holiday snapshot in Jamaica)