This past week the baseball Hall of Fame welcomed three of the greatest managers in the history of baseball. Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox, and Joe Torre were all officially inducted last Sunday. These are the managers who rank third, fourth, and fifth in all-time victories. According to Tim Kurkjian on ESPN.com, these three managers combined to manage for 91 years, won 7,558 games, made 45 playoff appearances, won 17 pennants and eight world series championships.
Thanks to one of my friends (and a loyal reader of my blog!), I was directed to an interview LaRussa did with NPR prior to the induction ceremony. It was a fascinating interview and I want to paraphrase some of it here for you. When LaRussa was asked what he, Cox, and Torre had in common he answered that all three were very relationship driven. They were very hands-on and used that style to show players they cared about them, which, in turn, helped to earn the respect and trust of the players. LaRussa mentioned that he felt he had wonderful relationships with the “great majority” of his players and coaches.
LaRussa went on to talk about relationships even more. He told how he felt he had a responsibility, each year, to earn the respect and trust of his players. He noted that honesty is important because “that’s how they trust you.” When you have helpful things to say, to help them improve, “that’s how they respect you.” And when you care for them and care about what’s happening with them and with their family and private life, that sets an example of what they are expected to do with each other.
As leaders, we often get so focused on the task, we forget about the person. Tony LaRussa reminds us how important it is to concentrate on the relationship. When we take time to show our team members that we care, we begin to build trust, respect, and teamwork. The fact that LaRussa identified being relationship driven as a key characteristic of three of the greatest managers of all time, should emphasize just how important it is to develop relationships with your team members. So make it a point of emphasis this week to work on these relationships. Show your team members you care. Be honest to build trust. Be helpful to build respect. Care for them so they learn to care for each other. The result will be more motivated individuals and a more cohesive team. And you just might become a Hall of Fame leader!
Thanks for reading,
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