On July 10, 2018, the Cleveland Indians had an unfortunate situation arise. The Manager, Terry Francona, walked out to the mound in the 9th inning to call in a relief pitcher for the closer, and the wrong pitcher walked out of the bullpen. You can read more about what happened here.
Yesterday, as I was listening to a podcast interview with Francona, he was asked about the situation. His response was incredible: It was my fault…I felt bad for Otero (the pitcher who came into the game). I feel bad that we put him in that spot.
Here is a Major League manager who admitted his mistake. There was a breakdown in communication (OP and OT do sound remarkably similar), and it cost the team the win.
Francona, however, still takes full responsibility.
So, what can we learn from this? Leadership means we will make decisions which impact those around us. Sometimes, those decisions are the right call at the right time, but others times the decisions we make lead to embarrassment for other people. It was Otero, after all, that stood on the mound and pitched, not Francona.
Is there a situation taking place in your life right now where you are dealing with the fallout of putting the wrong person in the wrong situation? If not, buckle down, because that day is coming.
I have heard interviews with business leaders who talk about how much money making the wrong hire will cost a company, and have seen similar setbacks over my years in ministry.
So, what do you do as a leader when you make a mistake? Check back on Thursday for part 2!
Honestly, I do not know if today’s leadership lesson is a leadership lesson, or just a life lesson, but seeing how you’re both a leader AND alive, let’s dive in anyway.
Ask for help.
There’s something wired inside most of us that makes us dread asking for help. We think it’s an ego shot, or we think it makes us look weak. The reality, however, is asking for help means we are incapable of doing things all by ourselves.
There are a couple of reasons to ask for help:
The bottom line today: we accomplish more together than we do alone. Ask for help. Your leadership influence will grow as a result.
What are you good at? I mean, what are you really good at? What is something you enjoy doing? What comes naturally to you that other people have to struggle to understand?
I enjoy running sound at my church. I may not be really good at the nuts and bolts, ironing out frequencies, but I understand the concepts of running sound.
The same goes for running presentation software on the computer. I know how the programs work, am willing to learn what I do not know, and enjoy doing it.
At camp last week, however, I had a moment. One of my roles at camp was to oversee the sound booth, but we took a different approach. This year, instead of the person in charge of the sound booth doing both parts, I oversaw students who took the responsibilities.
That means, every time we gathered for a service, two high school students were making everything happen.
One student, in charge of the sound board, turned mics on and off, adjusted levels, and made sure what was coming out of the speakers was exactly what needed to be coming out of the speakers.
The other student, in charge of the computer, displayed the lyrics for songs, played videos, and controlled the screen games.
These may not sound like impressive roles, but there are plenty of people who would not know how to do them.
The struggle for me, however, was letting go. In my role overseeing them, it was tempting to step in and take a more active role, but I did not. I kept reminding myself they will never grow if I do everything for them. This does not mean I did not correct or direct. I let them feel the freedom to make choices and I tried to help them understand the reasoning behind things I would do differently.
Now, these two teenagers have experience, and subsequently confidence, because of the time they spent in the sound booth. Next time around, they will be even more willing and equipped.
Leadership means learning to let go. As I stepped back and let these kids (who serve in these roles at their churches already) serve, they grow because of it. As a result, I grow as well.
As I said at the beginning, I enjoy doing those things. But if I want my leadership influence to grow, I have to learn to let go and let others make the most of opportunities. Ultimately, three people grew because of what happened in the sound booth last week, and that’s a win for leadership.
Today, let’s get back to basics: expanding your leadership influence.
Would you care to hear a secret? The people you lead can probably identify your ruts long before you can.
Some ruts are secrets, but some are not.
Routines can serve to give us energy, but ruts drain us. When we are drained, people around us notice. When we lose focus, people around us notice.
Sure, you can fool some people, but the ones who know you can spot the struggle.
So, let me ask you: what would the people around you identify as a rut you’re currently fighting through? Seriously think about it.
Now, ask yourself: is this truly a rut in my leadership?
A while back I wrote about the redundancy of leadership. The more I think about it, the more I realize that redundancy does not bother me the way it bothers other people. I do not mind the mundane nature of some tasks. In fact, I find energy in the redundancy. But that’s a post for another day.
The danger of embracing redundancy is simple: redundancy can dig a rut, too.
In my own leadership, there are areas where the redundancy of leadership has actually become a rut. Maybe the same is true for you?
So, what your next step? Identify the rut and choose a course of action–stick it through and wait for the terrain to change, or steer hard to one side and see what breaks loose.
Either one may not work the way you expect, but at least now you know you’re in a rut.
Lead well today.
Last week, I blogged about Routines vs Ruts. Today, I have a bit of a confession for you.
I feel like I have several ruts in my life right now, one of them being this blog. So, naturally, the best way for me to process this rut is to blog about it. That makes sense, right?
Here’s my blog rut as I see it: Up until the end of May, I was incredibly consistent. Every Tuesday and Thursday, I would get up and crank out a post of some sort. Sometimes, I would even be really diligent and hammer out the post the night before.
My topics were generally thoughts that came to me as I sat down, but the best ones were ones where I had written them down before as a topic to attack, thus letting my mind chew the proverbial cud of content potential.
That routine worked for a season. Granted, for a significant season. I love writing these posts, even if only for a handful of people.
But over time, recently, my routine became my rut. I knew I would write better if I did not write and immediately publish, but my rut was (is) to write and publish.
As a result, my consistency has dropped over the past five weeks. What used to be clockwork has become cork-work. The routine has become a rut.
So, how do you get out of a rut? In real life, sometimes you have to ride it out, knowing that the rut will change when the terrain changes. Sometimes, you have to steer hard to one side or the other.
Honestly, I am still pondering what breaking out of a rut looks like. But I think a key element is understanding you’re in a rut.
That’s why last week I asked you to write down three routines you have and one rut you’re in. I want you to identify what holds you back or holds you down.
Now, answer this: what are you going to do to break out of that rut? How are you going to overcome it? Write out one thing you’re going to try.
For the record, this is not me saying I am going to take a break from blogging. I enjoy it too much. But I do have to admit that I find myself in a rut that I want to break out of. Maybe you can learn something from my struggle.
Thanks for sticking with me.