What Baseball Can Teach Us About Leadership
Opening Day is right around the corner. As you settle in to watch your home team with your hot dog and beer, think about what you can take away to improve your leadership skills.
SUPERSTARS WIN GAMES, BUT TEAMS WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Each baseball team has its All Stars, like the dominant pitcher or the homerun hitter. These are critical talents for a winning team. But they alone can’t carry the team to the World Series. Strong leaders realize that it takes the whole team working together to be successful, not just strong talent.
YOU GOTTA GET DIRTY
Baseball is played on a grass and dirt field. In my opinion, if a player doesn’t get dirty, they are not trying hard enough. It’s the same with a strong leader. Sometimes they have to get dirty by having difficult conversations or making tough decisions. Also, when a leader gets a little dirt on their uniform, it can inspire team members to power through the challenges they face.
MEASURE THINGS THAT MATTER
Great leaders use all of the data and analysis they can get their hands on to make smart, informed decisions. This includes the strength of their team members. If a batter is in a slump, he may be taken out of the game. You have to regularly evaluate and adjust your game plan based on data and observations.
BE PREPARED FOR CURVE BALLS
You won’t make it in the big leagues if you can’t hit a curve ball. Successful leaders know that there are change-ups, sliders, and curve balls that come up unexpectedly. Being responsive and flexible can help you respond to those unanticipated events.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL
Major league players learned this lesson very early. To hit a pitch going 95 miles per hour, you have to be laser focused. Leaders must also be continuously focused on the vision and priorities for the community’s success.
YOU CAN’T HIT THE BALL IF YOU DON’T SWING
There’s a great quote by Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” How much time do you spend worrying about whether something will work or how you will look if you don’t succeed? Everyone makes mistakes. No one is right 100% of the time. Even Babe Ruth only had.314 lifetime ERA. Wait for your pitch. Then, swing away.
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