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Mis-Communicator of the Week: Brendan Rodgers

19th March 2013

If an organisation is going through rough times, it will be prudent to keep in control of your message by avoiding getting dragged into commenting about every piece of speculation which could make the culture of chaos even worse. All too often the opposite occurs as those in a leadership positions feel communicating through the media is a good substitute for results.

The process can quickly become self-perpetuating as the pressure of an ever shorter news cycle and the intensity of modern journalism, stoked by social media, leads to regular feeding of the cycle. The result: journalists get a story they want rather than the one you‘d want them to have.

Avoiding commenting on speculation is a central pillar of good practice for a spokesperson whether in an interview or press conference. By allowing yourself to speculate you let your organisation down and can undermine the message you are trying to communicate.

In the past weeks, the Liverpool football manager Brendan Rodgers has allowed himself to be drawn into speculation all too freely. For those of you who are not football fans, Liverpool is a club in transition with Rodgers having been in place as manager since the summer. While his continued admission that Liverpool needs to build a team over time is sensible expectation management, his frequent willingness to speak on every subject offered to him by journalists undermines his mission.

Recently the Liverpool manager has allowed himself to get dragged into speculating about who he will buy in the summer which came immediately after a very good win and then preceded a very poor loss; predicted the same win was a ‘marker of our growth’ and that his team had 'ditched their label as a vulnerable team' before losing 3-1 against a team threatened with relegation; and said his star striker was a 'changed man' then saw him investigated for stamping on an opponent.

It seems Rodgers has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth. This is a manager of a football team but it could easily be one of your clients or the boss of your own company. Don’t let it happen.

For being all too willing to speculate and undermine his wider strategy, I make Brendan Rodgers my Mis-Communicator of the Week.

Written by Edward Staite, founder of Staite Communications

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