My son’s little league team, the Pond Champs, plays again at noon today. They are 5-3 so far this spring. As I’ve been watching the games and practices, something hit me.
Developing others at work is a lot like little league.
As a manager and leader of people, I have to have a ton a patience. I work in an open-environment office – no doors on anyone’s office (including the CEO’s). While there are many advantages to this, there are disadvantages. If I want to really get some brain time focused on a project or presentation, I never get more than 15 minutes of quiet time before someone is at my desk asking a question, seeking advice, or just wanting to talk. Patience is required.
When I want to see a team member get to the next level, I need patience. Their speed to learn may be different than my perceived ideas. When someone assumes the worse about me or my team or a project I’m on, I need patience. A lot of patience (and grace).
My son’s coaches consistently teach the boys – with encouragement, being specific, with patience. The boys, in turn, have come to trust them.
How consistent am I? Am I changing the goals (moving targets frustrate teams!)? Am I moody? Am I approachable one day and the next, I’m a closed book?
Is your team performing at their best? Have poor behaviors crept in? Are they getting lazy?
My son started off the season batting well. Then, the last couple of games, his batting stance changed. He dropped his back elbow. He was under-swinging and striking out more.
The head coach refocused his batting stance. He got back to fundamentals. The same thing happened last night with fielding grounders. They worked on fundamentals for 45 minutes. It helped!
There are fundamentals that our work teams need to execute every day. Are they? Are they asking for the business? Are they providing superior service at every customer interaction? Are they cooperating and collaborating with others on other teams? Do they know and understand their goals? Are they arriving to work on time?
If not, you are the coach – get back to the fundamentals.
Is your team working together towards a common goal – winning? If not, model what a team is. My son’s coaches are constantly talking about how the team encourages each other. Cheers for each other. Helps each other. Acts as a back up for each other.
I’m loving this baseball season. So is my son. I love watching him grow and develop and conquer fears. His confidence is growing every time he plays and practices. He is making new friends and learning a ton of great lessons. Do you know why?
He has great coaches who are enabling this to happen.
Are you a great coach? Learn a lesson from the little league.