Torre was the only New York Yankee manager to work successfully with owner George Steinbrenner, who had changed managers 21 times in his previous 23 seasons of ownership before Torre. Torre was successful because he used great self-control in dealing with his "Tough Boss". In his book Ground Rules for Winners Torre expands on the idea:
"Every workplace has its share of bad-tempered executives and managers. There will always be people who meddle, backbite, and second-guess what you're trying to accomplish. You can usually deal with them. It's important, though, that you avoid pulling the same routines that you condemn in others. Treat your boss with respect even if he does not reciprocate.
To sustain a professional relationship with a tough boss, it's best to stay calm, rational, and cool under fire. Self-control is your best asset. Hold on to the mutual respect and trust you have worked so hard to build. Don't let your shared goals go down the tubes because you feel you must always be right. Control what you can, let go of the rest.
Don’t get overly caught up in your boss's reactions. I don't care if he rants and raves. Don't let petty disputes or sideshows destroy your focus on the work at hand. Do not become so emotionally involved in pleasing or battling your boss that you take your eyes off that prize."
Torre never complained about his boss to others in the organization, his team or the media. Torre did not distribute any "dirty laundry". In Ground Rules for Winners Torre describes his philosophy:
"You need constructive criticism, so be open to your boss's comments. But it's important that you distinguish between criticism and insults. The insults can hurt. If your boss belittles you, take a step back. Remind yourself that it's his problem, not yours. Don’t overreact to your boss's behavior. Let unimportant controversies die a natural death. Don't let negative comments get under your skin.
Respect your employer's desire to keep problems between you. If you broadcast your frustrations to others in your organization it shows a kind of disrespect for both your employer and your job. If you're a middle manager with your own staff, your goal should be to protect your team from your boss's distractions."
Bad coaches and managers blame their boss or company for problems and share their displeasure with their team directly or indirectly. They create distractions. Good coaches and managers shield their teams from external problems. They create inspiration.
Are you distracting or inspiring?