What Makes Tony Soprano The Ultimate Master of Delegation? TV mobsters and great managers do share some qualities.

Tony Soprano
Mar 29
Read 4 Min

The year 1999 was pretty eventful in the US. From a massive snowstorm that has hit Milwaukee and Chicago, through Disney’s rebranding strategy and California’s very own Legoland – it seems like the 90s were determined to go out with a bang. But here’s one crucial person who marked this era: Tony Soprano, the ultimate master of delegation

Also, one of the most memorable TV show characters ever. Although he did throw the F-bomb a lot, he’s done so much more. For the ‘waste management’ business, and for the generations who enjoyed the show. And for those who are yet to fall head over heels for the Sopranos. But most importantly – he managed to slip in a few strong messages that can help all of us. Get ready for some Gandolfini time that will refresh your business. 

Those who want respect, give respect. 

How many times did you hear the question – What are the qualities of a great manager? Mobster stuff aside, this very quote should be the first thing that comes to mind when discussing a prospective Manager’s traits and skills list. Whether you’re running a call center, a grocery shop, or a team of aspiring dice quality inspectors, first thing’s first – you are bound to promote mutual respect

Granted, your employees are far less likely to mumble Italian curse words and leave to join a Coppola’s movie mob where people are weirdly fond of horses. Well, their parts, to be precise. But still, appreciation is essential. Teach your team about it and lead by example. 

More is lost by indecision than by wrong decisions.

Let’s just quote Carmela Soprano and hope no fans will notice and get offended by stealing Tony’s thunder. Seriously, how accurate is this line? Every team manager needs to develop strong decision-making skills

Moreover, every employee should enhance theirs, too. Being able to do the right thing quickly is paramount. Being able to do something and fix it later is realistic. And also, it’s what largely constitutes the Agile manifesto. Many occupations demand quick actions. Find a manager who can act promptly and draw correct resolutions. 

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Did you ever have to give someone negative feedback? Let’s say a person has tried hard, but they still did not perform as expected. Now, you must break the news, and you hate it. Well, that’s what a great manager must do. 

They should praise the team whenever they succeed. And, sometimes, they must criticize. And since most people aren’t actually keen on telling the ugly truth, it’s always best to find a neutral way of saying it. So, someone on your team has messed up big time. But, guess what? An excellent manager will let them down slowly. 

How? By stating the negative aspects of their recent action, but making it clear that it’s not something that will determine a company’s attitude toward them for all eternity. In simple terms, succede di merda. Or something more appropriate. Just keep in mind that 96% of employees think that receiving feedback regularly is a good thing. Follow these simple tips:

  • Use positive language,
  • Add a suggestion and help them improve,
  • Be concrete,
  • Take the edge off and strive to make the employees feel comfortable,
  • Base your claims on presentable data and examples. 

Nostradamus and Notre Dame. It’s two different things completely.

Oh, Bobby… How clueless does one need to be to discuss the way Quasimodo predicted 9/11? No wonder Tony felt compelled to clear things up. Regardless of your line of business, a manager must solemnly swear to educate your team. Frequently. In addition to it, they must encourage the entire crew to share insights. That way, they’ll perform better and solve any problem quicker. 

Knowledge sharing is the main way to long-term success. 

Once everyone grasps its true significance, your business will thrive:

  • The customer experience will enhance,
  • Profits will skyrocket,
  • Retention rates will improve,
  • Churn rate will drop,
  • Your team will be more motivated and productive.

If you can quote the rules, then you can obey them. 

Yes, a team manager must be clear regarding the rules and expectations.

 All requirements should be precise. If an employee doesn’t quite understand them, it’s a manager’s duty to clarify all. Transparency should form a major part of each segment of your business. When it comes to the milestones and ultimate goals, clarity is invaluable. However, if any employee is deeply familiar with do’s and don’ts and still chooses to disregard them, a manager must have an adequate response.

 Each positive turnout should be rewarded. And it goes the other way around – there should be proper disciplinary action for undesirable behavior. 

Here’s how to respond to negative behavior quickly and painlessly:

  • Give a fair warning timely,
  • React immediately,
  • Depersonalize the principle,
  • Be consistent about it. 

‘Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation.

To be honest, Tony Soprano just wasn’t a huge memorabilia aficionado. Nevertheless, this statement is usable in the business sphere too. Did you know that looking into the ways things used to be done does more harm than almost any brand-new strategy you could come up with? That is why your manager needs to be innovation-prone. Bringing fresh ideas to the table is the basic survival kit for every company, regardless of its size, stage, status, or industry. 

Innovation helps you do multiple things and obtain several desired outcomes:

  • Grow and scale,
  • Stay ahead of the competence,
  • Conquer the market quickly,
  • Boost your revenue,
  • Raise your brand awareness,
  • Acquire new users, clients, or customers,
  • Attract prospective new job seekers. 

Leave the reminiscing for some other TV shows and other scenarios. Your business deserves to move to the future. 

Learn from Tony Soprano, the Ultimate Master of Delegation

As we are approaching the 22-nd anniversary of this fantastic TV show, we can’t help but get in deep and use its powerful lines for strengthening our own methods. No sleeping with the fishes intended. And people will never forget James Gandolfini, who has played the most lovable, troubled mobster who somehow managed to maintain control of his business and family while struggling with inner demons. 

This role gave him eternal life. And it gave us some valuable knowledge and actionable tips. To say the least. 

You steer the ship the best way you know. Sometimes it’s smooth. Sometimes you hit the rocks. In the meantime, you find your pleasures where you can.

 

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Tatjana Zotovic