|Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 8
|Craig Impelman Speaking | Championship Coaches | Champion's Leadership Library Login
RESPECT, TRUST, CARING - (TONY LA RUSSA – PART FOUR)
During his 33 year career, Hall of Fame baseball Manager Tony La Russa became the third winningest manager in the history of professional baseball. He built his teams with great team chemistry based on three words.
In his book One Final Strike La Russa described his process:
"We stressed the team chemistry component and how that related to three important words: Respect. Trust. Caring.
Personalizing with players never meant that everything they did was okay. We didn't sign any blank checks. You're kidding yourself if you think you'll win players' trust that way. You win them over with your honesty. In fact, one of the ways we'd show this throughout the season was in how we reacted when they made mistakes.
Whatever the problem was, we'd tell them what they'd done—whether it was throwing to the wrong base, making a bad turn, or laying back on a ball—and we'd deal with it as a fact and not a judgment. We created an environment that recognized that mistakes would happen and would be corrected.
Call it the squeaky wheel syndrome, the bad apple or whatever, but human nature being what it is, you tend to remember the really good and the really bad, and the big middle becomes a kind of blank. What I was taught, and followed religiously, was not to grease the squeaky wheel. Instead, our staff gave our best care and attention to those teammates who took care of our team.
The players had to demonstrate that they earned respect and trust and cared for their teammates and the team. They earned respect by having enough talent to help us win, but more than that, by proving that they were willing to put what the team needed ahead of their own interests.
They earned trust by being ready to contribute every day. They were going to be there whenever they were needed.
Caring is something some people don't really consider when thinking about a baseball team, but it's an essential part of our team concept. That said, we've had selfish individuals who cared more about themselves than the team. They earned respect and trust and contributed to us winning. But the selfish player is the one who misses out. If he's not included in that team feeling, then his experience pales in comparison to what the other guys do. The "I" or "me" player just doesn't have as much fun."
Tony La Russa was crystal clear on the important components of his team's chemistry and how it was achieved.
Is your team chemistry built on any key words? How is it done? How would you describe it?
Yours in Coaching,
What Life Should Be
To learn while still a child
Pat A. Flemming
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