You may have heard about the Red Sox’ latest nightmare in the clubhouse and leadership. Those troubles reared their ugly face in September when the team suffered a historic collapse after starting the season one of the favorites to become world champions.
There’s been a lot of talk (and even more speculation) on what caused it, and where the team is going to go from here.
Ultimately, the result was that the ownership decided not to extend the contract of eight-year General Manager Terry Francona, who was able to bring the World Series title to Boston twice.
It certainly seems like something went wrong towards the end of Francona’s career. But with a successful eight-year tenure, he must have done something right.
So what can we as entrepreneurs learn about leadership from the Red Sox and Terry Francona? A great leader…
1. Gives the Team Ownership
This doesn’t mean that you literally have to give them a chunk of your venture. But make them feel like they have a vested interest in your vision.
Show them that if your success will lead to their success. And then follow through and reward the team for their efforts.
2. Inspires Internal Support
We all have a specific job within our organization. But we also share a job amongst everybody. Being a member of the team is a duty in itself. A great leader is able to create a team that is a community, both within and outside the organization.
3. Cultivates Leaders Within the Team
A great leader doesn’t lead the masses. He or she passes their leadership skills on to those below them. A leader should empower the team to lead itself by delegating duties and trusting the leaders below them.
It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. — Nelson Mandela
Leading a team directly is inefficient. It is also unsustainable. A leader’s main job is not to manage team members, but to motivate them, and develop them.
4. Is Human
We all make mistakes, and it’s important for leaders to be transparent about this. When you make a mistake, proudly announce it to your team in the hopes that they don’t make the same mistake in the future.
When you admit a mistake, you’re admitting that you’re not perfect. People work better with leaders that feel like a part of the team. The best leaders are receptive to criticism from their team. Rather than fearing that they’ll look weak, a great leader will take this criticism and improve themselves.
5. Has No Communication Barriers
Communication is a two-way street. I meet entrepreneurs all the time that think that because they are great at speaking and inspiring others through words, they’d be great leaders. The truth is, communication should be two parts listening, one part talking.
A great leader knows at all times what is going on within his or her team. Whether there is a personal problem or professional issue, a great leader is there to listen and give honest feedback and advice.
6. Is Respected, Not Feared
There have been some famous leaders that led by fear. But it’s not sustainable. Eventually someone in your team is going to stop being scared, and that’ll be the end of your reign.
If you stick to some of the above principles, you’ll find that you create respect amongst your followers. This is the most powerful sentiment a leader can induce. When your team respects you, they aspire to become you (or at least fill your role). This is when they really go to bat for you and innovate. When your team respects you, they give you their all.
I found this SlideShare presentation that I thought was quite inspiring: