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Managing Working America: Cast, Catch, and Release for Growth

Updated: May 20

Imagine managing your team as if you were fly fishing in the vast rivers of Working America. Just as in fly fishing, where you need the right lure, technique, and timing to catch the best fish, attracting and activating talent requires a nuanced approach. Harvard Business Review highlights a fascinating statistic: about one-third of a company's profitability swims in the waters of leadership style. But remember, it’s not just about the catch; it’s equally about the release. Let’s dive in and navigate these waters together.


Cast the Perfect Lure: Attracting Talent

In the vast waters of talent, how you bait your hook determines what you catch. Simon T. Bailey International’s (STBI) national study, The State of Working America Report – Thriving in Resilience and Brilliance, found that 74% of working Americans prefer a leader who shines with practical brilliance over one weighed down with academic accolades. Traditional leadership styles—autocratic, transactional, and transformational—each have their place, but the key is knowing when to use which. Think of it as choosing your fly: match the hatch to what the fish are biting. In other words, Bait Your Hook with Brilliance.


Switch Flies: Change Tactics

The river of business is ever-changing, with currents that challenge the steadfastness of traditional leadership styles. In a world continuously shaped by AI and new technologies, standing still means letting the catch get away. Leaders must be adept at reading the waters, ready to switch flies and adapt their technique to build the best team.


Set the Hook with Flexibility

Evaluating your team's morale and skill level is akin to choosing the right moment to set the hook. A high-skill but low-morale employee might be energized by a transformational approach, while someone less skilled and motivated may need the firm hand of autocratic guidance. Understanding your business model is like knowing your fishing spot: it determines what techniques and leadership styles will bring the best catch. STBI’s national study asked working Americans how likely are they to develop knowledge, skills, or expertise in their current job if they feel confident in their brilliance? 84% of working Americans stated that they are likely to develop their knowledge, skills or expertise in their current job.


The Gentle Release: Empowering for Growth

After hooking your talent, the magic is in the release—empowering them to swim upstream. Just as releasing a fish strengthens the ecosystem, enabling your team to grow and learn accelerates organizational progress. Future trends suggest a move towards participative leadership, where autonomy and recognition fuel the school’s forward motion.


The CARING Cast: A Management Fly Box

In the spirit of fly fishing, where patience, precision, and the environment matter, embedding the CARING principles in your leadership style can ensure that every cast counts.

  • Commit to Coaching: Tailor your guidance to meet individual needs, just as you would choose the right fly for the day's conditions.

  • Attitude is Key: Maintain positivity and resilience, mirroring the serene yet focused demeanor of a seasoned angler.

  • Realize Lasting Impact: Every interaction can leave a ripple in the water, shaping the course for those who follow.

  • Improve the Employee Experience: Ensure every team member feels valued, like ensuring the health of every fish caught and released.

  • Notice and Ask Questions: Be observant and curious, understanding the depths beneath the surface waters.

  • ·Genuinely Appreciate Everyone: Recognize and celebrate the unique contributions of each team member, as each fish caught is a trophy in its own right.


Cast Farther, Dive Deeper

As you wade through the rivers of Managing Working America, remember the essence of fly fishing: it's not just about the catch but how you catch and release. Equip your fly box with the CARING principles, adapt your techniques to the ever-changing currents, and remember, the goal is to nurture a thriving ecosystem where every fish—every team member—can swim freely and grow. Cast your line with intention, engage with empathy, and release with empowerment. Let's make waves, together.


Simon T. Bailey is the world’s leading expert in Brilliance. His groundbreaking research, State of Working America Report Thriving in Resilience and Brilliance, solidifies his insights in his 11th book, Resilience@Work: How to Coach Yourself Into a Thriving Future. With Disney Institute as his launchpad, he’s left an indelible mark on 2,400 plus organizations in 54 countries, including American Express, Deloitte, Visa, Signet Jewelers, and Taco Bell. He has made a remarkable impact on 120,000 professionals who’ve experienced his pioneering courses on the LinkedIn Learning platform. He’s also been recognized as Success Magazine’s Top 25, alongside Brené Brown, Tony Robbins, and Oprah Winfrey, as well as being on leadersHum Top 200 Power List. His viral video, released on Goalcast through META, has over 91 million plus views to date. Learn more at



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