I have remarked many times before that you cannot predict from whence inspiration will come. Such is the case today as I reflect on my youngest grandchild’s recent first year of Junior T-Ball.
We are not baseball fans by nature. I am much more of an ice hockey fan than a baseball fan. But, thanks to some very dear and patient friends, I learned the game of baseball almost 15 years ago. Nowadays, I thoroughly enjoy the game.
The fact that Jr. T-Ball bears little resemblance to real baseball is not the subject for today. Rather, it is to consider the leadership lessons (and really, life lessons) from watching our grandson’s first season.
Observations and an Application to Leadership
T-Ball can be a little scary. — Most of the little ones were a little scared to be out there on the field by themselves. Mom or Dad was always welcome to stand alongside the player. Shoot, the little player could actually ask anyone to stand not the field with them to help them feel more comfortable out there. I was drafted several times by my grandson to stand with them as they played the field. But, you know what, we were able to share great times together. And guess who taught him to say “Hey battah, battah, battah!” while he hunched over trying to be as ready as he could?
Leadership can be a little scary at times as well. We just may need to reach out and draft someone to come stand beside us from time to time. Not only will it be a comfort to us, we can also learn some things while they are standing by our side if we are open to a little ad hoc mentoring.
Always be prepared. — It takes a little of swings and misses to get the ball in play. More often than not, the player would whack the tee about 6 inches below the ball resulting in the ball falling off the tee and rolling about 3 feet behind home plate. It is hard to stay in the ready position through that many misses. But invariably, as soon as their little minds began to wander, someone would accidentally put the ball in play and it would roll right past the player, or worse, it would roll right between their legs.
Leaders need to always be ready as well. Our leadership activities are not always exciting. There is a lot of waiting for others to do something so that we can then do something in conjunction with, or in response to, what they are doing. And if we are not paying attention, we will miss the opportunity. And who knows what the impact of that missed opportunity will be.
Never miss an opportunity to celebrate. — I am pretty sure that it didn’t matter who won or lost. Especially since we were not keeping score. In fact, it wasn’t about the game at all for our grandson. It was all about who was there to watch him play and where Mimi would take us all for lunch after the game! We celebrated almost every game with a meal with every family member who was there to cheer him on.
Leaders need to look for opportunities to celebrate as well. The successful completion of a major project usually warrants some kind of celebration event. They have become almost expected. But, how would your team respond if you celebrated a minor milestone with them? How would they react to just a pat on the back and a “Job well done!” for the many little things that your team is doing?