Do leaders play short stop, as a corner outfielder or both?
As I was growing up, I always loved sitting down and watching baseball with my father. It is considered to be the all-American pastime. It was not only a favorite pastime of mine to be able to spend time with my father, but I was in awe of the sport itself and the amazing structure of discipline needed from all of the players and coaches involved. At the time, it was unfathomable to me to understand how all of the team members worked together to accomplish such an amazing feat of winning a game. Every team member had to have a time, a place, a position, a process, or a call, etc., and know and understand the coaches’ expectations, in order for the game to be played effectively.
Baseball not only brings people together, but it can be played in empty lots, or in organized teams, it can be played by all ages, and you can play whether you are an amateur or a professional. Much like that of the organization in which you work, you should feel comfortable playing the game in any area of your business, whether you are good at it or not, and no matter what age. With the help of your leadership skills, your colleagues should feel the same, as well. But I often ask myself whether, as a leader, am I playing short stop, or playing in the outfield? What does this mean to me and my business and why?
If you think about the short stop position, the person in this position must be the most agile person on the team. Not only do they cover multiple other positions within the infield, but they must have the strongest arm on the team in order to be able to throw a far distance to make other players get out at first base. They also must be the cut-off man to any of the other positions that play around him, or behind him. A short stop position must have fielding prowess because you never know what type of ball, fast or slow, or how high or low, you are going to need to catch. You never know who you will be throwing to, or how quickly you will need to throw the ball back!
As an outfielder, you catch the longest driven and highest balls hit to you. They typically play behind the six other positions within the infield. Sometimes, they are considered to be the slower and less defensive of the other players. However, they too, must also have a strong throwing arm in order to get the ball back in the field for the play to continue. Many of the best power hitters in baseball play in the outfield where they do not have as constant involvement in fielding plays as other positions.
Although both positions are both important to the organization of the sport itself, one position is looked at as stronger than the other; that is the short stop position. As a leader, are you playing short stop in your organization and catching all of the issues first, and succeeding by dampening the concerns with your resolutions? If I am a leader, I must be active and engaging in every department. I must be alert as to what is going on in all areas of my organization/business, not just my own area/department. I must be athletic enough to overcome any situation that comes my way. I have to be buoyant enough to bounce back from tough situations, and clever and dexterous enough to come up with a plan of action that can be executed in a quick and timely manner. As a “short stop” leader, I have to be easy-going as much as possible, yet energetic and positive at all times. Never let them see you sweat, right? If I am not prompt at handling what is to come, and quick enough to determine what is needed to accomplish a specific task to enable my team to work more effectively and productively, then we will not win the game. With this being said, a short stop leader must be vigorous, swift, and sharp enough to handle situations promptly and to continue showing their leadership skills vivaciously enough to win the game at all times.
If all of the situations that occur in my business are constantly being diverted to my outfield, then I may be a power hitter to bounce back from the situation after numerous attempts to make the situation better, but I may not always win the play due to being less defensive and as supple as I need to be. If I want to constantly try and catch my problems after they have passed numerous other players on my team, then can I actually lead with the quickest and most defensive strategy that is needed to make my business happen? Although I do need to play in this position, in order to know how my team works and to understand the dynamics behind the plays that are thrown my way, I feel as if a leader needs to have the attributes of the short stop position to be able to stand as a dynamic leader.
Stand back and look at your team and how each person affects the drive and success of your business. Then take a look at your leadership style and how you fit into the “field”. Do you look at issues and attack them quickly and are you steadfast in your approach? Or do you delegate all issues and concerns to someone else in a position that does not have the drive or stamina to handle the issue as successfully as you would? Do you play as a “short stop” leader, or as a “corner outfielder” leader? Or do you consider yourself to be the only player and you play all positions at all times? If you do not play either position as a leader who plays in these positions on your team and who do you rely on the most? People look for meaning and purpose in their life and work in order to find fulfillment. Without a clear purpose we wander from position to position trying to find the right fit. Most people place more value on meaning and significance than they do on pay and benefits. Consider this, I have read over and over again that there tends to be a greater number of people who leave their jobs because of poor leadership.
Teresa Uranga-MSSL, MS Ed.