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Batter Up! 4 Steps to Building a Great Team

Sep 25th 2010 at 6:25 PM


As baseball season winds its way toward another World Series (Go Dodgers!), I got to thinking about what it takes to build, run, and nurture a Team to success.  What do great Managers do to get maximum results from their Team?  A great Manager must inspire, motivate, listen, and lead his or her Team, both as a whole and as individual members of the Team.  There are four key ways that a Manager can maximize the Team’s performance and create a stronger Team atmosphere.

1. Humble Leadership – Remember, it is not your job to know everything, or to always be right.  It is your job to listen to your Team, analyze their plan, make intelligent decisions regarding overall course changes, and create other leaders.  Along the way you must be willing to admit mistakes and when a member of your Team is better equipped to act on a given task.  This is why baseball Managers have Coaches.  The Manager cannot do everything or know everything; he looks to his Pitching Coach for pitching expertise and his Batting Coach for batting expertise.  Sometimes, the Manager has to override their advice and he must be willing to admit a mistake if one has been made and share the glory if success is achieved.

2. Speak with Clarity - The Team has a runner on first and second base and the Base Coach is busy flashing signs to his players.  The Base Coach must be very clear with his hand signal instructions, if the runners are to properly execute the chosen play.  If he is not clear, the runner’s chance of being picked-off or caught stealing increases tremendously.  Done with clarity, however, the run and hit play is perfectly executed bringing runners in to score (did I mention “Go Dodgers”?).  The same is true in the office…communicate goals and instructions with clarity and your Team will do the rest.

3. Create “Ownership” into the Team – I am not talking about financial ownership here.  What I mean is people want to be a part of a Team that is a winner, a team that works well together and supports each other.  In the dugout, you will often see players up, leaning on the field-side rails cheering on their teammates.  When a player gets a great hit or makes that create catch to end an inning, you will see other players high-fiving, jumping up and down, etc. to show support.  In the opposing dugout, you might see the player that just threw his batting helmet and nearly hit a teammate, which starts an altercation.  This player is a disease…a cancer to the camaraderie and success of the Team.  One Manager has created a strong Team and the other has created a Team in the cellar.  As a Manager, you must create an atmosphere where the Team Members feel a part of something important…something that they feel they can contribute to and help succeed.  Sometimes, this means cutting out the cancer people within your organization, no matter how valuable his or her contributions.

4. Remember 3 G’s – Ever see the player that doesn’t get his salary increase or is benched after a bad performance and doesn’t put his heart into the game?  A good Manager will keep in mind the 3 G’s of satisfied players.

·         Growth – Every player wants to play for a Team where he can improve his game and contribute to the Teams success.  Make sure to allow your Team the opportunity to grow and learn and contribute.

·         Green – Teams that pay competitive and fair salaries and Teams that players want to stay with.  When you under compensate your employees, you create an environment of discontent and valuable members of your Team will look elsewhere.

·         Glory – Baseball players receive awards like MVP or Rookie of the Year, for outstanding performance.  Be sure to give credit to those who perform above expectations and never fail to include the entire Team in your praise. 

Becoming World Series Champions is not done by accident.  It is the result of a great Manager motivating his Team and maximizing their potential.  It is the result of strong, but humble leadership that a Manager guides his Team through 162 games of the regular season plus the playoffs and, finally the World Series.  The Manager sets up a coaching staff that he trusts, acquires the players necessary to field a strong Team, acts and speaks with clarity, creates an atmosphere of “Ownership” in the success of the Team, fairly compensates his players, and praises his players for their contributions.  A great Manager lives by the 3 G’s.  Will you? 

Oh, and, did I mention “Go Dodgers”?  Batter Up!

By Todd Browning

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