Monthly Archives: April 2014

ARE YOU A LEADER WHO IS CHEERFUL, GRATEFUL, AND BLESSED?

Maya Angelou once said; “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

Authentic leadership is not about getting, but about giving. There is something deep in the heart of ever authentic leader that has a desire to give to others. They find joy in giving. Whether you are coaching or mentoring athletes, scouts, coaches, or staff members; authentic leaders lead by example. They give cheerfully and accept gratefully!

Yesterday was a case in point for me. While getting my haircut at my local barber, a very old gentleman shuffled his feet while walking into the barber shop. I noticed that a family friend or relative drove him to the barber shop to get his haircut. While sitting there, watching this man struggle to walk over to the barbers chair, and battling bells palsy, I was struck with a choice. A decision if you will.

I could stay in my own world, in my own chair, concerned about my own needs – or I could lead by example and give my time and treasure to make this mans day just a little bit brighter. I’m glad that I chose the latter!

I felt led to walk over to him and share a few words of encouragement. After a brief conversation, I learned this man was 90 years old. I ask him how his day was going and let him know that his money was “no good” today at this barber shop, that his haircut was paid in full! I gave cheerfully and the elderly gentleman accepted gratefully. He walked away feeling better than when he entered that old barber shop, and so did I. The outcome is that we both were blessed. I helped him back to the door so he could get to his waiting car.

As a leader, everyday we are faced with choices and decisions. We can Serve or Sit. Get or Give. Share or Keep, Encourage or Keep Quiet.

I encourage to look for opportunities this week to lead with integrity of heart….if you do, and you act, everyone will walk away cheerful and grateful…and just a little bit more blessed! 

s2s,

Kevin

BUILDING AN ENVIRONMENT OF TRUST

Trust is to an organization and team what oil is to a car engine. It keeps the moving parts from seizing up and stopping forward motion.

But trust is not something you can take for granted. It takes months – sometimes years to build. Unfortunately, you can lose it overnight.

Some people seem to have a knack for building trust. When they speak, others take them at their word. When they are absent, people speak well of them. Even when they make a mistake, people give them the benefit of the doubt.

Others are just the opposite. People distrust what they say. They are suspicious of their motives. They interpret every comment, every phone call, every e-mail, every text, and every action as one more reason the person cannot be trusted.

Building Trust

If you are in a situation where you need to build trust – or even rebuild it – here are four specific action steps you can take. Regardless of what you do professionally. These steps will work with your employees, your players, your coaches, your colleagues, your children – or even your spouse.

1) Keep your word: This is where it starts. I heard my father continually say growing up – “Son, all you have in life is your word – your word is your bond.” People have to learn that they can count on you to deliver on your promises. Whatever that may be. If you commit to following up on something, do it. No excuses. If you can’t do it, be pro-active and let the other person know. To this day, I do my best to honor this principle in my personal life and professional life. Thanks, Dad! 🙂

2) Tell the truth: This is harder than it sounds. Most of us like to think of ourselves as truth-tellers. This happens in the industry of scouting or coaching. it’s easy for a scout or coach to round the numbers up, spin the facts, or conveniently leave out the evidence that doesn’t support their position on a player. Let me encourage you – don’t do it!

If we are going to build trust, then we have to commit ourselves to telling the truth – even when it is difficult or embarrassing. People are more forgiving than you think. (Witness all the celebrities and athletes who have publicly blown it, apologized, and received forgiveness) People don’t expect you to be perfect. However, they do expect you to acknowledge your mistakes when you screw up.

3) Be transparent: People will not trust you unless you learn to share yourself, warts and all. You have to take a risk and be vulnerable. This creates rapport and rapport builds trust.

However – and be warned! – you can’t use this as a gimmick or a technique. If you do, people will see it as manipulation. Instead, you have to be authentic.

The reason this builds trust is because you are demonstrating trust. You are taking the initiative to go first. In essence, you are saying, “Look, I trust you. I am taking off my mask and showing you my true self. Some of it isn’t very pretty. But I am willing to take that risk, believing you will still accept me.”

In my experience, this kind of self-revelation almost always gives the other person the courage to take off their mask, too. And that builds trust. The relationship is deepened. It goes to a new level.

4)  Give without any strings attached: Nothing builds trust like love. What does love have to do with the workplace? – everything! You have to be willing to share your knowledge, your contacts, and your compassion – without expecting anything in return. The more you take the initiative to give, the more it builds trust.

Giving lets others know that you know that it’s not “all about you.” From this, people learn that they can trust you, because you have their best interests at heart. You aren’t merely looking out for yourself. You’re taking care of them, too.

But, like being transparent, you have to be careful how you give. Otherwise, it will be perceived as manipulation. You have to make sure your motives are pure. You can’t expect something in return.

Trust can always be rebuilt. Granted, in some situations, it can take years. It takes doing the right things, in the right way, with the right heart, over a long period of time. But in most cases, it won’t take that long. Relationships with people can be messy. However relationships can be turned around quickly if you own the problem and take the action steps outlined above. Like the old saying I heard many years ago – “The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago, the next best time is…today”! 

s2s,

Kevin

Question: What can others do to build trust with you? 

Comments? 

 

 

FOUR THINGS OUR TEAM MEMBERS NEED IN CHALLENGING TIMES

As a leader in the game of baseball, challenging times present great opportunities to grow our leadership and shape our legacy. The problem is that many leaders in baseball I have spoken with over the past several years have grown weary of trying to keep things moving forward with few or limited resources. Small college and D2 baseball programs trying to compete with D1 programs at the collegiate level. Small market vs large market MLB teams. Big high powered travel teams vs new start up travel teams, etc…You get the point!

In times like these, it is tempting for us to stay in the background and become introspective, throw in the towel, or become complacent. However we absolutely must not do that. It’s time to suck it up and lead. Not make excuses. Our leadership will make a difference – for us, for them, and for our organizational mission.

Specifically, in challenging times, those coaches, players, and staff members we are leading need four things from us – the leader:

1) Acknowledgment: People need to know that we “get it.” They need to know that their work is not going unnoticed – that we see their commitment and hard work. We may be tempted not to acknowledge these facts because we don’t want to give them an excuse. However it’s a must to resist that temptation and speak up. Our empathy will go along way toward boosting morale among the team.

2) Appreciation: People need to be thanked. We may not be in a position to give raises, playing time, bonuses, or other perks, but we can be grateful. It doesn’t cost us anything, except TIME – to write a note, email, text, or just drop by someone’s locker or office and say, “thanks.” Our appreciation needs to be personal, frequent, and specific to what was accomplished. It’s important to celebrate the small wins your team members accomplish.

3) Affirmation: I don’t know any scout, coach, or athlete who doesn’t like to be affirmed. It’s wired in humanities DNA. People need to be told they are doing a good job. In fact, we can’t say this too often. When times are tough, people become fearful and uncertain. They need to know that their work matters. They need our affirmation that their efforts are not in vain. They are doing the right things, in the right way, and eventually it will pay off.

4) Vision: People need to be reminded of the vision. Vision leaks. This is often the first thing to go in challenging times. Leaders aren’t sure the vision is still possible, so they stop talking about it. This is a huge mistake. The only thing that gives the vision life is our articulation of it. In order to stay focused and on-task, people need to see where their hard work and sacrifice is going. They need to be reminded of what they are really building. They need perspective.

As a leader, are you leading your coaches, players, or staff with the heart or with the hatchet? Leadership from the heart champions Acknowledgement, Appreciation, Affirmation, and Vision. Leadership with the hatchet is rooted out of Fear, Selfishness, Pride, and Intimidation. Regardless of what level of leader we are in the organization, we must be proactive and reach out to our own team members. They need our leadership now more than ever.

What are you doing to encourage your team and those you’re leading in challenging times? 

Comments? 

WINNING – STARTS – AT – HOME

As you go into this week, let me remind you that the only person who can fill your role in your family is YOU!

Ask most successful athletes, coaches, or scouts and they will tell you that leaders are winners. By nature, a winner loves to compete. Unfortunately, winning on the field of competition, in draft room, or executive office can often get in the way of what is most important…being a winner at home. It’s easy to do if we’re not careful and maintain balance in our life.

Winning

I suspect many of you need to refocus or re-calibrate on what matters most and lock in on some intentional family connections over the next couple of days. A date night with your spouse, playing catch in the yard with your son, going to your daughters school activity, go having lunch with your small child at school, a dinner and movie together as a family.

The baseball season for any player, coach, and scout is a grind. It’s everyday for weeks and months on end. Last week is gone. There are no do-overs and we can’t get those days back. However the next couple of days are right in front of you.

Will you have more weeks in the future? Perhaps. But I can assure you that you only have one shot at this week. Whatever you do, make the most of it!

I heard it once said, “Have fun in your life. Don’t always run at a breakneck pace. Make time for what’s important, spend time with your families.”

I hope you have an amazing week, and most of all, I hope you are focused on not just winning on the field of competition, but winning at home as well.

s2s,

Kevin

What are your thoughts about what it takes to be a winner at home? 

Comments?