6. I don’t care how long you’ve been around, you’ll never see it all. ~Bob Lemon, 1977
When we reach a position of leadership we like to think that we have learned a thing or two. But one of the ways to remain proactive is always remember that you don’t know it all. If you look at each day as a day you might just see, learn, or experience something new, you are ready to be a proactive and engaged leader.
5. You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. ~Jim Bouton, Ball Four, 1970
Don’t forget that no matter how much you think you’re in control, no matter how much you think you can dictate the future, you must stay flexible. Every time you sit back and say “I’m in control of this situation” there is a good chance that it’s the other way around. There is always a new leadership challenge around the corner that will force you to re-evaluate every aspect of how you do business.
4. You don’t save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain. ~Leo Durocher, in New York Times, 16 May 1965
In leadership, you can get into a world of trouble if you don’t give each day 100% of your effort and focus. Being a proactive leader means that you must execute each task with your best tools and ideas. You can’t save your best for the next project because if you don’t get things done now there may not be a next project.
3. A game of great charm in the adoption of mathematical measurements to the timing of human movements, the exactitudes and adjustments of physical ability to hazardous chance. The speed of the legs, the dexterity of the body, the grace of the swing, the elusiveness of the slide – these are the features that make Americans everywhere forget the last syllable of a man’s last name or the pigmentation of his skin. ~Branch Rickey, May 1960
This isn’t your typical brain-dead baseball quote, but it does prove a point: Leadership, like baseball, isn’t about fancy clothes, Ivy League colleges, pretty faces, or skin color. It’s simply about getting things done. If you have all the skills necessary, if you have learned which tools are needed to execute, then you have the ability to become a proactive leader.
2. Baseball statistics are like a girl in a bikini. They show a lot, but not everything. ~Toby Harrah, 1983
Being a successful leader is more than just spreadsheets and bottom lines. If you don’t cultivate those you lead, if you don’t understand how their success is attained, you are heading towards trouble. When people in your team or organization stop achieving success, you need to know exactly how they got to where they are. Otherwise helping them recover will be close to impossible. Take the time to learn what motivates each employee. Learn about their strengths and weaknesses. This way if their numbers slip, you won’t just say “Work harder” or “Sell more or you’re fired”, you will be able to give constructive comments on how they can get things done again.
1. Always play a game with somebody, never against them. Always win a game, never beat an opponent. ~Andrew Bailey
It’s important as a leader to encourage those you lead to be competitive. But nothing good can come of playing people off one another. Don’t make groups fight each other for supremacy. These internecine battles might work in the short term to raise productivity, but in the end it will do nothing but build resentment and destroy any trust you have with your team.