“The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and what could be again.”
That scene has lingered with me for the past 25 years. Truly, baseball is timeless.
One of my favorite things, in this sport of unpredictability, is that there are still constants. Teams come and go, crazy things happen during games, field dimensions differ, but one thing is certain – You can always count on there being a foul pole along the base lines. Without the poles the games would be chaos.
With the MLB playoffs around the corner, I found myself in a ballpark a couple of weeks ago working on an upcoming teams project. I stood alone in the upper deck. The stadium was empty. Quiet, with the exception of the faint sound of a small tractor dragging the infield, ridden by a member of the grounds crew.
As a leader, one of the best things you can do for your team is to make sure there are things they can count on when they show up at your ballpark. Whether you are in business or baseball, if you expect to win, you better spend a chunk of your time defining boundaries that are constant.
- Consider the following:
- A trustworthy leader. When people can’t trust the leader, things break down. Growing organizations are not places of suspicion. There is transparency and authenticity that starts at the top. If you want to create a winning culture, start by being trustworthy. TWEET
- A place where people are trusted. Leaders not only need to be trustworthy, they also need to trust others. Assuming you hire the right people, move out of the way and let them do their jobs. Ask for input on important decisions, and refuse to micromanage. Great teams are places where trust is present. They are never led by dictators.
- A growing leader. I have a friend who reminds me, “Your capacity to grow determines your capacity to lead.” If the organization is stalled, it is usually because the boss has plateaued. A team takes its cue from its leader. If the leader is growing, the environment will flourish and the team will thrive. TWEET
- Clear expectations. One of the most important things you can do for your team is to communicate what is expected of them. People want to know how to make an “A” on the test. Rarely do employees have a bad heart toward the organization. Usually when they struggle it is because the leader withholds clarity on what is “foul” and what is a “fair ball” on the field of play. When leaders fail to communicate the expectations, at some point apathy sets in and team members become disengaged. TWEET
- Encouragement. It is a proven fact that encouragement leads to greater performance in any arena of life. I see leaders all the time who neglect to praise their people only to wonder why the team lacks motivation. Critical leaders are constantly looking for mistakes and pointing out flaws. Unfortunately, most critical leaders are too self absorbed or emotionally unaware to think about the culture they are creating with their negativity. If you want to see your team thrive, make sure they can count on a culture of encouragement over one of criticism.
As a leader you get to choose the boundaries you set for your team. I’m convinced if you will build trust, continue to set the pace by modeling growth, communicate clear expectations, and create a positive environment, your organization will be on its way toward a playoff performance.
Count on it!
Leadership Begins at Home,
What other things does a team need to be able to count on from their leader?
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