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Issue 359 - Deference and Dialogue (Joe Torre Part Two)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 8 Issue 359
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Hall of Famer Joe Torre was a a major league manager for 30 seasons. From 1996 to 2007, Torre was the manager of the New York Yankees and guided the team to four World Series championships. He is one of only five managers in history to win four or more World Series titles and one of only two in history to win three titles in a row.
Torre was the only New York Yankee manager to work successfully with owner George Steinbrenner, who had changed managers 21 times in his previous 23 seasons of ownership before Torre.
Steinbrenner was wealthy and wanted to win. He was also a difficult person to work with. Torre did two things which anybody can apply to create success when working with a strong willed person. These principles work in any relationship.
1. Show deference by working with the other person to establish a joint agenda. Find out what the other person wants to accomplish and focus on establishing a foundation based on your common goals. In his book Ground Rules for Winners, Torre expands on the idea:
"When you want to advance your own ideas and career goals, concentrate first on your shared agenda. A tough boss or co-worker is not likely to listen if you just confront him or her with demands. However, if you get a dialogue going, and he sees that his interests and yours overlap, he's going to be more receptive. You generate good will, which goes a long way. Sometimes, that's all it takes. In other cases, you have to keep working on the relationship. Your message should be that you have the interests of the company at heart, not just your own interests.
Your tough boss or co-worker may never be ideal. But you can build a professional relationship that serves your needs, his needs, and the larger needs of the organization."
2. We will be more effective if we study our boss and learn the best way to have an effective dialogue with the boss. In his book Ground Rules for Winners, Torre expands on the idea:
"You have to gauge your boss's personality and needs. Your assessment will help you determine what kind of approach will work. Some bosses need to know everything you're doing. Others couldn't care less about operational details. Some are completely secure. Others need reassur¬ance. Some need to be confronted. Others need to be soothed. Some have no sense of humor. Others respond to humor like nothing else.
Observe your boss so you can learn more about how he responds. Then put your knowledge to work. Not to manipulate, but to speak a language he can understand."
Torre learned that Steinbrenner needed reassurance. When Steinbrenner confronted Torre he would reassure the boss that everything would be okay and calm everything down instead of arguing with him or becoming defensive. Torre won four World Series championships instead of getting fired.
How do you show difficult people deference and created dialogue?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise




Age is calling to me, with his finger long and grim,
It is urging me to wander down the dreary lanes with him,
It has lined my cheeks with furrows, and has tinged my hair with gray,
And is ever whispering to me that I've grown too old to play;
But the heart of me keeps saying, 'Let us dance our way along,
Let us answer age with laughter, let us drive him off with song.'

Age comes to me saying: 'You are mine forever more,
It is vain for you to hunger for the joys you knew of yore.
Now the feet of you are weary, and the eyes of you are dim,
Come with me, my worn-out brother, come and share my dwelling grim.'
But the heart of me keeps saying: 'I will cling to youth for you,
I will keep you in the sunshine where the skies are always blue.

'Give to age your cheeks for furrows, let him silver, if he will.
The hair about your temples, but I'll keep you youthful still;
Let him dull your eyes, if need be, weight your feet with bygone years,
But I'll wake you with my singing, when the break of day appears,
I will fill your days with laughter, and with roses strew your way,
Say to age you do not fear him, while your heart is young and gay.'

Edgar Allen Guest (1881-1959)






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