Leadership – Can It Be That Simple?

Forget about the curve ball Ricky.  Give him the heater.” – Lou Brown, Major League

Many of us remember the movie Major League.  The lovable (sometimes cantankerous) manager Bob Brown was successful at assembling a group of ragtag veterans and misfits and driving them to win their first pennant in years.  But, what was it about Bob that made you love him and admire his leadership?

Many people say that it is difficult to define leadership (there are perhaps thousands of books on the subject) but you know it when you see it.  Now, the normal author writing on this subject would probably sight Covey, Drucker or perhaps Jobs, but trust me, I know what I’m doing.  (Author’s note – this is a shameless attempt to work in a quote from Sledge Hammer – an obscure sitcom in the late 80’s that barely lasted 2 seasons.  If you watched it, like me, you need help.)   So, let’s look at five characteristics that made Lou a great leader:

  1. Compassion – Lou took a sincere interest in his people and knew if they played together and respected each other, they would be successful.  Whether it was realizing Ricky needed glasses, Dorn had to improve at 3rd or Cerrano had to learn to hit the curve, he took the time to make each player better.
  2. Focus – Using the life-size picture of the owner Rachel Phelps and stripping off a part for each win was simple but powerful.  Players had a lot on their minds… especially as they started having success and expectations rose; but this simple visual gave them focus.
  3. Decisiveness – He made tough decisions.  Starting a veteran over a hot up-and-comer was a calculated, but appropriately calibrated, risk.  He was able to not only make the tough call but effectively explain it to those that were impacted.
  4. Passion – Lou believed in and fought for his team.  He had no problem confronting the owner over inadequate equipment or training facilities.  Everyone knew he had a desire to see the team succeed and he fought for them knowing it placed him at risk.
  5. Energy – Lou was a tireless advocate for the team and his players.

Leadership takes different forms – from the more aggressive poised and verbal leader to the strong silent type.  Effective leaders come in many flavors.  There are volumes written, courses and “self help” techniques galore on leadership.  Some people spend their lives trying to become better leaders.  If that is your passion, then as Rocky said to Clubber Lang, “Go for it!”  But, perhaps a simpler technique is to try to build these five simple traits into your role as an entrepreneur.  You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

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One thought on “Leadership – Can It Be That Simple?

  1. Perfect analogy and a great lesson (and a great movie)! Hard work and focus often beat “smart” (or in this case talent). A lesson we should all take in our career.

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