Monthly Archives: February 2016

THE FIVE “I’s” OF AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP

Many people have written on what it means to be a leader. Almost everyone identifies influence as the primary characteristic. By definition, this means that leadership and position are two different things. You can have a title, and a position of power or authority, but this does not mean that you are a leader. Even people without these things can exert influence and thus leadership.

I believe leadership is more than influence. It definitely includes influence, but it is more. I believe it includes at least five characteristics. I call these…

“The (Five I’s) of Authentic Leadership”

Authentic Leaders Have Insight: Sometimes we refer to this as vision, but that usually has exclusive reference to the future. While leaders must have vision, they need more. They need wisdom and discernment. They need to be able to look at complex situations, gain clarity, and determine a course of action.

Authentic Leaders Demonstrate Initiative: They go first. They don’t sit on the sidelines. They don’t ask others to do what they are unwilling to do themselves. Instead, they lead by example.

Authentic Leaders Exert Influence:  It’s no coincidence that influence and influenza (the flu) come from the same root word. Real leaders are contagious. People “catch” what they have. Yes, a lot more is caught than taught. People are drawn to their vision and their values. They are able to gather a following and move people to act. They are like human wave pools, creating a ripple effect wherever they go.

Authentic Leaders Have Impact:  At the end of the day, leaders make a difference. The world, teams, and organizations are changed because of their leadership. They are able to create real and lasting change. Unless something has shifted, they aren’t leaders. They are only entertainers and occupy a role. There is a big difference. The measure of leadership cannot be found in the leader; it is found in the impact the leader has on their followers.

Authentic Leaders Exercise Integrity:  Not every leader is benevolent. Adolf Hitler was a leader, as was Josef Stalin. They had insight, initiative, influence, and impact. However their lives were NOT integrated with the highest values.  Integrity – or the lack thereof – ultimately determines the quality of a person’s impact. In a sense, this is the foundation of authentic leadership. Compromise your integrity and it will have a profound impact on your ability to lead others. Don’t do it!

Leaders must be deliberate and intentional if they are to be successful. I trust that these five qualities can guide you and I as we grow in our ability to lead in our roles as coaches or scouts.

Remember, It’s always about progress and never about perfection when it comes to our leadership growth and development. We are all a work in progress. Be your best this week!

s2s,

Kevin

Do any of these attributes mark your leadership?  Where can you improve? 

Comments?

ARE YOU ENDURING THE “DESERT”?

While going about my week I carved out time to think about the many professional baseball scouts who are out of work. Many that are seeking an opportunity to get back in the game they love so dearly. It’s a challenging time for all who are going through this “desert” time in their life and career.

In a similar way, gold has a process of being developed. It’s a pain staking arduous process to say the least. For those who are out of work, your adversity is like gold in the making. God is the one who determines how long the process takes. He alone is the refiner.

Waiting is hard. It brings challenges. It brings with it a sense of abandonment. It’s a long, momentous, slow moving grind. That’s what it is when nothing is happening. Wait, wait, wait!

Seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, hours become days, days become months and months become years. One begins to think when is this nightmare going to end for me, my family and my baseball career?

Let me encourage you, it will. If you find yourself in that arena at this particular time in your life. A lot is happening, you just can’t see it right now. Events are occurring apart from your involvement. Pieces are being moved around like a game of chess. You’re being strengthened, you’re being established, you’re being refined and processed like pure gold. You’re being shaped for greatness and to influence others.

There are countless people throughout time and history that endured a “desert” period in their life – that when completed, they had a huge impact and influence on others in life. The game of baseball needs scouts and coaches like this. Ones who make an impact and difference in the lives of others they lead and work with.

So today, if you find yourself in a place waiting in a dry and barren “desert” – I want to encourage you that it won’t last forever. You are being shaped for a significant future. One you can’t see clearly right now. However it is happening.

You are being molded. You are being shaped. You are being refined. Hold on to that truth. Be patient, endure and wait. That’s what’s happening. For the present time, nothing. For the future, everything!

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

What adversity currently are you going through that feels like a “desert” in your life?

Comments?

ARE YOU A MENTOR?

While traveling in my vehicle this past week, I began thinking about the importance of mentoring. In the sport of baseball, every scout and coach had a mentor at some level in their life that invested in them. Someone who spent time with them, taught them, guided them and watched them grow in their position as a baseball scout or coach.

Case in point, last Sunday Feb 7th, two head football coaches in Superbowl 50, Ron Rivera and Gary Kubiak each had multiple mentors on the gridiron that helped them in their journey to get where they are today. They didn’t do it alone. They each had multiple mentors in their life.

So the question is, who are you being a mentor too? Who are you investing in? Who are you multiplying your life in?

One of the most frightening things in life is reaching for what lies deepest in your heart. You won’t get there alone. Mentors ignite courage and fuel progress.

Below are a few key points to remember when mentoring a young scout or coach in your life. Now, I would be wrong if I didn’t remind you to look for those who show a deep desire to be mentored. You can lead a horse to water – but you can’t make them drink.

Look for F.A.T. scouts and coaches, What I mean is look for scouts and coaches who are (Faithful, Available and Teachable) to mentor and invest in. You won’t have to find them – they will find you.

Courage: Mentors help those they are leading find courage to take a different path or face new challenges. They understand the path ahead because they have been there. They have walked down the road and know the pot holes that are in the road. However, more important, they understand the people or person they are mentoring.

Refocus: Mentors speak to the heart. It’s about the heart. Technical experience and skills are important, but the real issues are heart issues. A mentor helps re-focus and re-calibrate the heart of those they are leading and investing in.

Remember, there are two very important characteristics that every successful mentor shares…

Vulnerability:  Profound influence is more about frailty than strength. Connections are built when you expose the ups and downs of your own personal journey. Let people see your struggle. Let them hear and know the challenges you faced to get where you are today. In other words..less of the “Superman” mentality.

Tough Love: The first role of a mentor is “tough love.”  The greatest gift you give is often the toughest one to hear. A great mentor communicates to those they are mentoring what they need to hear…not what they want to hear. It’s a delicate balance between “grace and truth.”

Don’t sit on or can everything you have learned as a scout or coach. Give it away to others who display a deep desire to learn and be mentored – Scouts and Coaches who are  F.A.T. (Faithful, Available and Teachable)

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

Would you add anything else to the list above? 

Comments? 

 

LEADING WITH A RAKE

As a professional baseball scout I have watched countless baseball games over nearly 25 years of scouting. During that time, I have observed baseball coaches at all levels lead their teams in very different ways. Some positive and some not so positive.

However, last week I witnessed a very successful national Junior College head baseball coach lead by serving his team with a rake. Truth is, I have witnessed this very act multiple times from this particular head baseball coach, as well as many others at the JC and D-2 level coaches.

You see, Tim Wallace is not your ordinary Junior College head baseball coach. He has served at Spartanburg Methodist JC for 25 years. His success nationally as a Junior College head baseball coach is second to none.

http://www.gosmcpioneers.com/sports/bsb/coaches/Tim_Wallace

However, as I pulled up to the ball park in my vehicle this particular morning, 3 hours before game time, I witnessed Tim serving his team by tending to the field; dragging the infield dirt and raking around all four bases. The ballpark was empty and quiet. No players, no grounds crew, no assistant coaches, no parents, no fans  – just Tim and his dog.

tim wallace

Here is the application. Leadership, regardless of how much success you have attained in life, or in baseball as a coach is about serving others before serving self. It’s about the “towel” not the “trophies.” It’s about the “rake” not the “riches.”

If you want to be a great leader – serve others before yourself. You will be amazed at the outcome. Remember, you will reap what you sow; more than you sow, and later than you sow.

Don’t believe me, just ask Coach Wallace. Well done, Coach!

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

What are some other ways as a coach to serve with a “towel”? 

Comments? 

ARE YOU MORE FOCUSED ON THE “TOWEL” OR THE “STATS”

College and HS baseball teams are preparing for the start of the 2016 season. Everything is being prepared for the hopes of a successful 2016 campaign. Hope is in the air for coaches, players, fans, administration and parents.

Attention to detail is the priority for every coach and their team in the coming few weeks…or is it?

Let me stretch your thinking for a moment. Great teams, like great leaders, serve one another. They care about the needs (not wants) of their fellow teammates above their own. The “towel” becomes more important than the “stats.”

This week, I challenge you to take it a step further by investing in someone on your team who cannot repay your simple act of kindness. You might even consider doing something in secret for your teammate.

College basketball legendary coach, John Wooden once said, “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” 

Being a coach you would think a “perfect day” would be defined by a comeback win, a thrilling victory, or an upset over a rival team.

Obviously, that was not the case for Coach Wooden. The coach who won the most NCAA Championships in history understood that some things matter more than whether you win or lose.

In fact, I believe if Coach Wooden were still with us today, he would say you can lose a game and still have a great day. For Coach Wooden, the “towel” was more important than the “stats.”

It takes humility to put someone else’s needs before your own – someone who can’t even repay you. This way of thinking is not popular or practiced very much today, however it is what made Coach Wooden’s teams so hard to defeat. If you want to take your team to the next level, create a culture that embraces Coach Wooden’s philosophy.

Because remember, “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” 

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

Do you agree with Coach Wooden’s philosophy? Why or why not? 

Comments?