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“Red-Shirting” upcoming new Managers
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 06/18/2012

Redshirt Those familiar with sports know what a “red shirt” and not confused in the role they play in the sport and on the team. The term could also be applied to management principles and make just as much sense as it would in the sports world. For those readers not familiar with the term is “red-shirt” in sports goes back to a way of doing business in many professional and college sports because of the competition within the teams for a starting spot at the beginning of the season or saving an injured athlete for future eligibility to play. It has also been implemented for freshmen who can’t compete with those more experienced to “sit out” a starting position until they have a chance to learn the system of the school and game plan. During this “sit out” they play in practice [unless injured] but avoid contact or real games to keep their eligibility to play in the future.

Most time periods last about one year of this exempt status as a “red-shirt” is a common practice because of the fierce competition and the fact that new freshmen athletes coming in simply can't compete with the upper class man who have had a chance to master the game, the various plays used by the team, gain superior physical superiority and in many cases, strength and muscle mass to play the game.

In today’s workforce, the need for good managers and mid-level supervisors is critical in the maintenance and development of other employees and the success of the organization. The analogy for such a tactic is simple and analogous to the mission and objectives of various businesses.

Each and every organization, agency or business should develop a staff development master plan to gradually implement those promising leaders identified along with a probationary pay scale to enroll them into the program. Then, as they are observed and assessed in their work habits and struggles towards anticipated performance levels, they are kept at the sidelines and mentored intensely for career growth.

This includes individual executive, managerial or supervisory maintenance giving them a perfect opportunity to retain a “red-shirt” status until their individual effectiveness, their level of performance and their stability are at a pre-approved level for a full time management position commensurate with the appropriate pay raise.

However, instead of “sitting out” the game they can participate and learn from mentors assigned to them as they follow a rigid development plan that outlines their performance expectations as well as self-evaluations related to their individuals’ strengths and weaknesses as identified by management and assigned mentor, advisor or counselor for each type of position to be filled on a permanent basis.

Management styles may vary as they are related to their individual work assignment thus those assigned as mentors may decide how to coach, direct or delegate responsibilities and duties to see how well they react and participate in the management process. There should be an evidence-based baseline within the first six months of such a process and any progress made or lost should be closely monitored for final determination to promote, remove or re-assignment purposes.

It is speculated that this “red-shirt” process could be adapted to be used in many various situations that allows management to develop future leaders and executives through a thorough process that is time restricted and performance based to satisfy the corporate, agency or business expectations.

Editor’s note: Carl ToersBijns (retired), worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

Other articles by ToersBijns:


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