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    Five Leadership Lessons from Spring Training

    Baseball spring training season is marked with a series of practices and exhibition games to prepare new and old players alike for the coming official season. This year’s Pittsburgh Pirates spring training at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida also included leadership sessions with best-selling author Bill Treasurer. The invitation came after Clint Hurdle, the Pirates manager, read Treasurer’s latest book, “Leaders Open Doors.” What Treasurer didn’t realize was that he would learn as much about leadership from the Pirates in their two days together as he would offer the players and coaches. This slideshow features the five leadership lessons learned during spring training, as well as the essential takeaways for leaders of businesses and organizations of all types.

    Download a free excerpt from “Leaders Open Doors.” In the chapter 2 excerpt, author Bill Treasurer discusses the importance and benefits of being an opportunity-focused leader versus a problem-focused leader.

    Five Leadership Lessons from Spring Training - slide 1

    Click through for five leadership lessons learned during spring training, as well as the essential takeaways for leaders of businesses and organizations of all types, as identified by leadership expert and best-selling author Bill Treasurer.

    Download a free excerpt from “Leaders Open Doors.” In the chapter 2 excerpt, author Bill Treasurer discusses the importance and benefits of being an opportunity-focused leader versus a problem-focused leader.

    Five Leadership Lessons from Spring Training - slide 2

    Cultivate the farm

    The term “bench strength” comes from baseball. Over the long haul, the teams that consistently win are those that pay as much attention to the next generation of players as the big league stars. One overriding goal of the coaches at Pirate City is to turn boys into men. More than a few players are teenagers who are away from home for the first time. Character building is as much an emphasis as playing ball. Players are taught to wear their baseball caps straight!

    Leadership essential: Actively build leadership skills among your organization’s next generation of leaders to deepen the overall bench strength.

    Five Leadership Lessons from Spring Training - slide 3

    Emphasize leadership

    The simplest definition of leadership is “to stay out in front.” To be in the lead, you’ve got to be leading. A lot of coaching time is devoted to helping players learn to be leaders. They bring in outside leadership experts, journal their thoughts on leadership, and even have a “leadership counsel” of players who are voted on by their peers for their leadership potential.

    Leadership essential: Thinking about leadership isn’t enough. Leadership is something you do. Provide real opportunities for people to lead and take charge.

    Five Leadership Lessons from Spring Training - slide 4

    Own your own accountability

    Few things are as damaging to a team than lack of individual accountability. As said on a locker room poster, “You either did or didn’t, who cares why or why not?” Each morning team members who feel they’ve let the team down in some way voluntarily fess up and put a dollar into a penalty jug. When enough money accrues, it’s donated to a worthy cause. Self-accountability is the best way to promote team accountability.

    Leadership essential: Create an environment that encourages people to “own” their performance and mistakes. Embody personal accountability as a core value.

    Five Leadership Lessons from Spring Training - slide 5

    Provide ‘bursts’ of motivation

    Energy management is critical to high performance. Players don’t need to be keyed-up for the entire game lest they fizzle out before the game is over. Rather, they need to flip the motivation button to “on” instantaneously as needed. Coaches provide motivational pep talks in short 5- to 10-minute “bursts,” not drawn-out speeches or lectures.

    Leadership essential: Fire people up with one or two quick motivational messages, not every motivational quote you’ve ever heard.

    Five Leadership Lessons from Spring Training - slide 6

    Be abnormal

    At the end of the season, only one team wins. The winning team is an outlier. Winning isn’t normal and requires an abnormal level of preparation, practice and hard work. Champions sacrifice the comforts normal people seek.

    Leadership essential: Get everyone striving for excellence by asking each person to improve performance by one-tenth of 1 percent every day. It’s the best way to outperform average. 

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