5 for 5 blog – Lessons from Dad: “Everybody plays”

20 Jun

Photo Jun 19, 8 19 22 PM

With this weekend being Father’s day, it is hard not to spend time reflecting on the lessons I learned from my Dad.

One of the things I will always be grateful for is the commitment my dad made to coach my baseball team each summer. While I have always appreciated the time and effort he put into coaching, there are some lessons I have learned to appreciate only now as a leader myself.

A key lessons was a rule my dad had and committed to each game: Everybody plays. Typically, we had teams of 13-15 kids each season which meant that to work each player in each game took some creativity. But not only did each player get in each game, everyone got in for 3 innings minimum…regardless of whether it was a close game or not. Everyone plays.

I remember questioning my dad about this one night after a close game and without hesitating he repeated that commitment to me (Everyone plays). And while I couldn’t fully appreciate it at the time, as a leader now I realize he was teaching me what truly being responsible for a team meant:

Everybody on the team matters

To my dad, he cared about each team member. They had committed their summer to learning about playing the game of baseball. How demoralizing would it be to sit on the bench all summer and watch everyone else play without a chance to improve. Instead, everyone could anticipate getting in so everyone had a chance to contribute.

Everybody had a role to play (and needed to be ready at any time)

Often having the additional team embers rotating in, meant we all had to be ready to play more than one position. Also, we played from May through July, peak vacation time, so someone was always gone. “Everybody plays” meant we had some depth at each position and we had to be ready to play at any time.

Everybody had fun as a team

At the end of each game we all gathered as a team and drank super-sugary sodas and high fived. Dad always gave out multiple game balls and we talked about how we did as a team. We celebrated accomplishments, someone’s first double or a great combo play. We run the bases and goof around after the game while all of the parents chatted it up. We always got together for a team party at the end of each summer and we often celebrated birthdays on the field with cake and loud singing (thanks mom). We ALL had fun.

We won as a team; we lost as a team too

No one person was ever to blame for a loss. As I mentioned above, game balls were handed out, but it was always to multiple people and if I remember correctly everyone got at least one game ball throughout the summer. We learned to pull for each other and to appreciate everyone on the team, regardless of talent. Everyone played and everyone contributed.

As I reflected on those summers over this weekend I thought, isn’t that exactly the kind of leadership we all want to work for….isn’t that exactly the kind of the kind of leaders we all want to be. Leaders where:

  • Everyone on our team is important  (and they know it)
  • Everyone on our team has a role and learned consistently
  • Everyone enjoys what they do and have fun as a team
  • We rise to challenges as one team; there is no obstacle we can’t overcome..together.

Thanks, Dad. I still have a lot to learn, but I will always remember these lessons. Happy Father’s Day!

Here’s this week’s 5 for 5 articles:

What Happens In Your Brain When You Lose Focus – by Stephanie Vozza – via Fast Company

This Is the Secret Sauce for Happy Employees – by Shawn Murphy – via Inc.

5 Essential Skills You Need To Keep Your Job In The Next 10 Years – by Gwen Moran – via Fast Company

A Technique for Producing Ideas – by Shane Parrish – via Farnam Street Blog

Raising the average – by Seth Godin

All the best, kevin

4 thoughts on “5 for 5 blog – Lessons from Dad: “Everybody plays”

  1. Everyone plays was a first step in learning that we are all players in the game of life. No one comes into this world to sit on the bench, everyone contributes no matter how great or how small. You have learned well as a father, and I am very proud of you. Love you too Son, Happy Father’s Day.

  2. I love this post – what an awesome Dad! Thanks for sharing. Happy Father’s Day to you too, Kevin!!

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