Leadership 101

simple insights for those in leadership

Tuesday Thots | Leadership Lessons From Game Five of the 2011 World Series, Part 1

It was the bottom of the eighth inning and the game was tied, 2-2.  The Rangers were threatening with men on base. Manager Tony LaRussa made the call to the bullpen to get left-hander Marc Rzepczyski and right-hander Jason Motte up and loose.  The bullpen coach never heard Motte’s name mentioned and only had Rzepczyski up.  When LaRussa noticed that Motte wasn’t up and getting loose, he called the bullpen again. This time the bullpen coach misheard the name and got Lance Lynn up.  Lynn had just pitched the night before and LaRussa had only wanted to use him in an emergency. What happened after this series of miscommunications and not having the right guys up and ready to pitch in relief proved fatal for the St. Louis Cardinals as the Rangers went ahead on a Mike Napoli two-run double and eventually won the game 4-2.

Communication failure.  That’s what the Cardinals had Monday night in Game Five of the World Series.  It led to a loss and dropping 3 games to 2 in the series.  It would be easy to pass blame in all sorts of directions.  LaRussa could blame the bullpen coach for not listening.  The bullpen coach could blame LaRussa for not speaking up and speaking clearly.  The Cardinals could be blaming the Rangers organization for having a sub-par phone system.  The Cardinals could blame the fans for being too noisy.  The list of blame could go on and on.  But, at the end of the day, there was still a communications breakdown that resulted in a big loss.
Communication is an art.  In many ways it is a dance.  It is a two-way street.  It involves numerous senses.  And it is one of the areas where leaders often fail.  And when communication fails, the results can be damaging.  Feelings can be hurt.  Relationships damaged.  Profits lost.  Organizations destroyed.  Chaos created.  Leaders do well to make learning the art of good communication a high priority.  Below are some simple thoughts on the art of good communication.
  • Communication always involves more than the dispensing of information.  The receipt of that information is also vital.
  • Communication goes far beyond mere words.  Tones in voice often communicate more than the words themselves do.  Body language can trump both the words and the tone.
  • Communication is affected by the environment in which it takes place.  The same conversation takes on a very different feel if it is held over a meal instead of across a desk.
  • Communication is always colored by the recipient’s unique pair of glasses.  The way Sam receives a piece of information may be completely different than the way Mike receives it due to past experiences, current life circumstances, etc.
  • A good leader finds a way to communicate loudly so she can be heard over all of the other “noise” that so easily drowns out what is being said.

What other communication tips do good leaders need to master to be successful?

October 25, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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