Yesterday over the sports news pages was the story about Yaya Toure, the Manchester City footballer from the Ivory Coast. The news stated that he might be leaving the club because the club showed him a 'lack of respect' on his birthday. Despite giving him a cake, and apparently tweeting about it, that simply wasn't enough for Toure, who said that the club didn't even shake his hand.
In total honesty, at first I found this hilarious. I thought 'what?! – this guy is paid thousands each week to play football and an annual cake, I think they give him enough! Surely missing a handshake isn't that bad!' Maybe you think or thought the same. Since then, a couple of thoughts came into my head…
1. Relationships matter. More than money, you can be paid as much as you like, but here is a classic example of the truth of the importance of human connection and relationship. Whether a millionaire, or somebody with very little, we all need relationships and connections with others. You can't buy loyalty and relationship. I know Manchester City is ultimately the organisation Toure works for, but I bet some reaching out relationally from the clubs officials would nt have gone amiss. In many ways ahead of the money we are paid, we seek human relationship and want to know that others care for me.
2. It's the little things that count. It's clearly the little thing of a handshake and a smile that counts for Yaya. And for us, it's the little things that count. The cup of tea made in the morning, the bringing in of biscuits to the meeting, the little present on a Friday when you come home from work, the taking to the airport, the asking 'how is your family?', the buying of a book because you 'saw it and thought of them'. Small things count.
2. People come and people go. What some people would not even consider as an issue (I struggle to imagine myself leaving my place of work because nobody shook my hand on my birthday!), some see it as a reason to leave. It got me thinking about why people leave organisations, groups, churches, and jobs. And there are so many reasons. What is a reason to leave for one person may be a reason to join for another. When somebody may leave a company for a particular reason, it may not even enter the mind for another. People come, and people go. Something tells me that not getting his hand shook is not the only reason Yaya Toure wants to leave Manchester City, there's bound to be other reasons too. When people want to leave and have made up their mind, there's not much you can do about it, so at this point, let people go and save yourself the worry, fear, anxiety and pain of it all.
What do you make of this? Have Manchester City been harsh and neglecting of Toure, or should he dust himself off and get over it? How important are relationships and the small things?