Baseball (my favorite sport) is a team sport. There are a lot of opportunities to share in personal victories, but there are no victories greater than those you accomplish as a team. That’s why becoming a team leader is critical to success. And not just your own success, but everyone’s success.
There are many great lessons I’ve learned from baseball, especially about leadership. I personally believe they can be applied to almost every area of life. So, whether you’re on the field, working on the floor, or in an office, here are four keys for becoming a successful team leader:
1. Be a Servant Leader
This is the most powerful type of leadership because it involves humility and respect towards others. The time for telling others what to do and how to do it is few and far between. It’s about setting the example first, then teaching where necessary. A servant leader is a servant first – looking to love others and grow them first – and a leader second. They work hand in hand in promoting peace, then guidance.
I find that it’s very easy for me to tell others what they could have done better or what they can do for me. It’s much harder to try and understand their perspective, share a genuine interest in them, and then nurture a loving relationship where we can work together to make things happen.
Simply put; value others first.
2. Get Everyone Marching Together
There’s already 9 guys on the field who want to win. Getting everyone in the same room isn’t the problem – it’s getting those guys to share the same intent and the same dream.
When one man steps out of line in a marching band, everyone notices. But when everyone is marching together in consistent rhythm, it’s fascinating. Every step matters and is one step closer to a victory (literally).
The same idea will be found in a successful team leader. They motivate others to work together to be the best they can be, because every step counts.
3. Face, Acknowledge, and Overcome Fear
As humans, we are constantly identifying our weaknesses and drawbacks. It’s a strain for us to focus with a consistent positive outlook. Living in fear leaves open excuses and it’s always nice to be able to divert blame.
Identifying our weaknesses is one thing, but developing a strategy to overcome them is an entirely different process. And it’s something we should all get comfortable with doing.
Think about this: we don’t remember the man who said a lot about something, we remember the man that did a lot to change it. If you’re going to be a leader, it’s important that you acknowledge the weaknesses in your own work and strive to resolve them.
Intentional effort will create intentional results.
4. Stay Disciplined
Discipline carries a tough name. I think of a brutal drill sergeant trying to build discipline in soldiers. But, in reality, discipline is an innate skill in every one of us that must be cultivated and nurtured.
It’s important to stay consistent in the small things, and that takes an incredible amount of discipline. In baseball, it’s so easy to neglect those tiny details that only seem to cost you the game once a year – but it’s usually the last game of the year. And in the workplace, if we neglect the small things, they start to add up, and eventually become one BIG problem.
As a leader, you must build a culture of discipline in your team. It may not happen all at once, but the best things in life take time.
It may take some monotony and even involve doing a few tasks you may not enjoy – but sometimes we have to do things we don’t like in order to attain the things we love.
Leadership is hard work. Servant leadership is harder work! But the dividends and personal satisfaction are worth the effort. You can change a person forever through your influence.
See through the goal, not just to the goal.