Leadership Lessons from Clint Hurdle

Earlier this summer, a good friend invited me to attend a talk by Clint Hurdle, the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. Being somewhat familiar with Hurdle’s positive leadership style, I was excited to get to hear from him personally.

Hurdle spent a good amount of time talking about feedback and how he gives it to his players. Hurdle said that the relationship he has with each individual player forms the foundation for feedback. If the relationship with the leader is good, the feedback is received better.

It also helps that Hurdle shares his failures so the players know he’s human. Hurdle is secure enough to talk about the times when he has failed and this helps the team to understand that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you acknowledge them and learn from them.

When Hurdle provides feedback to his players he says is a “3 for 1er.” This means he tells players three things they are doing well before he provides his one item of critical feedback. This positive feedback helps players feel valued even when they learn about things they may not do so well and how they can improve.

Lastly, Hurdle shared detail about the feedback conversations he has. These conversations normally start like this, “We’re going to talk about something that might get uncomfortable. But I want you to know I love you and respect you. Here’s what I’m seeing. What do you see? How do you feel? And how can I help?”

Clint Hurdle has been a very successful Major League Baseball manager. Undoubtedly, some of his success is a result of his effective approach to providing feedback. As you provide feedback to your team members, remember some of Hurdle’s tips: develop relationships with your team members so they’ll receive feedback better, acknowledge your own failures, be a “3 for 1er,” be direct but make sure your team members still feel valued, loved, and respected.

Thanks for reading,


P.S. – Follow me on Twitter, @jvearle, and feel free to share my blog with others.





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