How Baseball Makes You a Better Leader

When I watch a baseball game, I’m not only looking at the strengths of individual players but the strategy and execution the team exhibits during the game. The winning team is a combination of the skill players bring to the game and the leadership a great coach brings to his or her players. You can’t have success without both elements.

Like or not, if you’re running a company with employees, you’re leading a team. Running a business is a lot like coaching a baseball team. The elements that contribute to the success of an organization often times hinge on the skill and attributes of an astute leader and coach. So what does baseball teach us about leadership?

First, know your players. A good coach will know his players’ physical capabilities and limitations as well as their personality. In the same vein, get to know who the key contributors in your company are.  Understand what they are capable of and what they need to work on. Develop them and you’ll develop not only the team you want but the team you need.

Second, cultivate attitudes. Your team will take their cues from you on this. Just as a good coach will instruct players on what successful relationships with umpires, managers, and other players look like, a good leader will set the tone for the team.

Third, develop all the players. All teams have their heavy hitters who can be relied upon to perform. You build morale by developing all of your players – not just the nine or ten best people. There may be a day when a key employee is unavailable or exits the company. You’ll be in trouble if you haven’t nurtured “reserve players” who can step in when needed. A good leader will find a way to develop people by giving them exposure to different parts of the business.

I encourage you to take a look at your roster and think strategically about your team. The extra effort will yield a more cohesive unit that will, with practice, give your company an edge.

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