Last month I wrote an article giving some insight into the three negotiator types by using 3 head football coaches in the NFL as comparison: Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks) – Accommodator, Bill Belichick (New England Patriots) – Analyst, and Jim Harbaugh (San Fransisco 49ers) – Assertive. Since then reports from NFL analyst Deion Sanders and Fox Sports Jay Glazer have surfaced indicating Jim Harbaugh, our assertive, is not so well liked and may in fact lose his job over that conundrum.
There is no doubt Jim Harbaugh is a good football coach. Not only does he have the opportunity to be the first head coach of the 49ers to lead the team to four straight conference championship games but he is in fact beloved by a number of his players. To quote a few public responses from players since the recent news erupted: “I would go to war with Coach Harbaugh any day”, “I believe as a football player he loves me”, and “We are a family”. Unfortunately, a fiery passionate approach is sometimes misconstrued and constant bombardment of it can lead to resentment.
In negotiations or situations of conflict, Assertives will do what they have to in order to get their point across, even if it means inadvertently rocking the boat. Analysts are tremendously efficient working alone and never present a problem without having thought of solutions. Accommodators will go out of their way to do things to build or strengthen a relationship. I am here to tell you Assertive types rarely mean to rub people the wrong way. There is not a conscious effort to upset people but getting a point across is usually more important than stopping to consider how the counterpart might react.
In an article posted on bleacher report By Cam Inman gives us another example of how an assertive might see themselves versus how they are seen by others:
On the Rich Eisen radio show, when Eisen suggested to York (Jed York – CEO of the 49ers) that Harbaugh needs tension to succeed, York called that assessment “fair.” York then added: “Jim competes at anything and everything he does. That sometimes rubs people the wrong way. But he has an amazing way to be able to pull people together and find a way to win tough football games, put himself in a position to have his team have the most success.” Jed York also states via his Twitter account “We are trying to win a super bowl not a popularity or personality contest.”
When Harbaugh was asked if he’s aware his prickly personality can bruise other’s feelings, he replied: “No, not so much.”
There may in fact be some players in the 49ers locker room that don’t have an affinity toward Coach Harbaugh, heck I didn’t like half my coaches when I played the game, but his real problem is with the front office. The people in charge of making the decisions on personnel within the organization obviously find it very hard to deal with Harbaugh.