From Coach’s Corner: “How Leadership in the Federal Government is Analogous to Professional Baseball”
By Bob Oberleitner –
Whether or not you are a baseball fan, there are leadership lessons from baseball that we can all apply more broadly. One of those areas of application is organizational leadership exhibited by managers. Over the course of 162 regular-season games, baseball managers make many personnel and strategic decisions that impact the success and failure of their teams. Similarly, organizational leaders make decisions each fiscal year that either set the table for, or hinder, their team’s success.
Play the Long Game.
No single game makes or breaks a baseball team. Patience, hard work, and the accumulation of a team’s performance over an extended period is what drives results and positions them for the playoffs. There are many decisions and opportunities presented to a leader during the year. Also, the development of staff takes time. As a leader, play the long game and lay the foundation for success.
Put Players in Position to be Successful.
Baseball managers are responsible for instructing their players and then putting them in the game situations that maximize their chances of being successful. For leaders – Know the strengths of your organizational team. Train them and then trust them to execute.
No One Bats 1.000.
No professional baseball player has ever batted “a thousand” (1.000) for a season. In fact, even averaging a hit 3 times out of every 10 at-bats is a feat not many baseball players sustain. As a leader, there will be times you make an incorrect decision or do not handle a personnel matter well. Learn from your mistakes. Think about and gain awareness of what went wrong. Take steps to correct your mistakes and adjust your approach to be ready for the next opportunity.
In-Game Adjustments Are Expected.
Some adjustments can be made during a game or an at-bat. When you get thrown an unexpected organizational curveball make an adjustment. A successful leader calmly seeks and assesses information – then makes an informed decision when a pivot is needed. Employees are looking to you to calmly lead them in a forward direction.
By applying some lessons from the baseball classroom, leaders can maximize the effort, impact, and overall satisfaction of the employees in their charge.
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The “Coach’s Corner” Articles are written by Robert Oberleitner, executive coach. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Robert Oberleitner.