Put me in coach, I'm ready to play

Does your leader equip and empower your team?

John Fogarty’s 1985 hit “Center Field” is about an enthusiastic, confidant young player who has dreams and aspirations to play like his heroes Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, and Joe Di Maggio.  If only he could have the opportunity of proving himself in a real game.  The coach of course is the as to whether that player will be begin implementing his dream, or simply sit on the sidelines.

 This song comes to mind as I watch youth baseball games and watch many but not all coaches helping kids by equipping, encouraging, and then giving them opportunity to make a difference. 

 Leaders of organizations face many of the same decisions that coaches do.  While many choose to equip, add value, and release the power of that individual on the team (and the opponent), others choose to focus on maintaining and controlling the status quo.  Often these leaders feel that it is much safer to continue to empower the individuals that they have been using all along rather than take a chance on someone new with less experience.  After all, the known is less threatening than the unknown.  This leader is playing it safe – or is he?

 Unfortunately this myopic view of a team effort is more about winning by maintaining control and power than it is about building the team by adding value to the individuals that make it up.  Adding value increases productivity, flexibility, sustainability, and long-term gain. It increases the motivation of the entire team.  Interestingly, it also increases the influence and credibility of the leader and the engagement and loyalty of the team member.

 Winning is certainly very important in baseball and the world of business.  Productivity of team members and organizational profitability are critical.  It seems to me that the leader that is able to maximize the ability and motivation of all of his human resources is destined to be the real winner.

 Do you equip and empower or do you devalue?