Have you ever watched 6-year-olds play baseball? The whole event is filled with chaos and hysteria and fun. Hands down the most entertaining part of the game is when the batter gets a hit (usually a grounder) headed straight down the middle and every single player in the field takes off, head down, full speed, straight towards the ball, and one another. Often this rush for the ball results in a crash, a missed catch and a home run hit for the wrong team.
Pure entertainment in little league baseball. But less funny when it happens in business. How often do we see our team showcasing that same drop and run mentality? How often do we, as leaders, notice those same behaviors in ourselves?
On the field, the kids run for the ball for a few reasons: They are bored, it’s a natural reaction to the events taking place, they don’t know who is supposed to be doing it, or they want to be the star.
In the office, when trouble hits, why does everyone jump in? Usually, the answers are similar.
Lack of trust
When we don’t trust that someone else is going to be able to complete the task or solve the problem, we jump in and do it for them. Why?
Have we ever stopped to consider why we don’t trust them? Do they have the tools to succeed? Do they have the knowledge and ability to perform the task? If yes, then the answer might be as simple as deciding to let go a little and letting your team shine. If your answer is no, they are not capable then we have some hard decisions to make. Is this something we can help them with? Do they need more coaching? Or is it time to consider making a trade?
Lack of Role Clarity
When a bunch of employees dive in to solve an issue, we have got to ask: Do we know who is supposed to be playing what position? Have we given clarity to the team and have we been clear with ourselves?
When we don’t know who is doing what, there becomes a feeling of uncertainty and panic which leads to an outfield pile up. Nothing productive happens resulting in time and money wasted. Coincidentally, isn’t it interesting that an accountability chart and a baseball field look so similar?
Everyone wants to be the one who makes the game-winning catch. Often this comes from a need or want to be recognized. Why the need to stand out? Is this politics? Lack of recognition? Depending on the reasons this can be dangerous for your business.
Dig deeper and notice if there is something going on behind the scenes that you are missing that needs to be addressed. Is there a motive, or concern that needs action or is it a simple matter of doing a better job of recognizing our team for the work they are doing? Confirming we know we have the right person in the right seats, so when the ball comes their way we have every confidence in their ability to make the right play.
And take a look at where you, the leader fall in this, as captain of the team your greatest strength is setting up the plays and encouraging your team to execute.
So where are you at in the game? Are you struggling to stick with the playbook you wrote?
What do you need to change to make it to the big leagues?
Baseball analogy originated from Duane Marshall
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