Think of how different baseball would be if the managers could have unlimited substitutions.

It sounds like a crazy idea, but it happens in most (all?) other team sports. Players in basketball are continually rotated. Football, soccer and volleyball have offensive and defensive teams. Why not baseball?

The lack of substitution options has a major influence on the game’s strategy.

I was thinking about this in a leadership context. I think the lack of substitutions has a big impact on supervision as well.

Managers (of employees, not baseball players) often must follow the baseball model. Leaders have their team and they must use them. Most do not have the luxury of different teams for different tasks; their staff must both score and defend. Most leaders are unable to make sweeping changes to their ‘lineup’ but instead must ‘trade’ for one or two new players when a vacancy occurs. Some organizations have the luxury of a ‘designated hitter’ who can perform one task in depth, but most rely on ‘utility infielders’ to bring a flexible portfolio of skills.

The mindset of a baseball manager must be different than that of a basketball coach in how to deploy talent. Think of the mindset you have regarding your staff and how you can more effectively ‘play ball’ with those on your team.

beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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