“Leaders who think like individual contributors demoralize their team and devalue their leadership.” – Dan Rockwell
You ever heard the saying “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”? Aside from being creepy when taken in a literal sense, this colloquialism actually brings something to light that a lot of us (especially leaders, coaches and mentors) tend to forget: we can’t always be right, we don’t always have to be right, sometimes there is a better way than our way, and some issues can be attacked in multiple ways. I read this blog post this morning that discussed shifts in thinking for leaders, and it touched on these things a couple times.
We coaches and leaders tend to have a bit of the alpha dog in us. We like things done our way, and we really don’t like to be questioned. What we forget is that we are leading a team, and just as importantly, we are a part of that team. We easily get caught up in the “my way is the best way” line of thinking, and the end result is that we leave people behind and create resentment. “I” thinking has to give way to “We” thinking. You want people to truly invest in and follow you? Make them a part of the process, not cogs in your machine.
Another pitfall that rarely gets sidestepped is the inability to see varying viewpoints. Some of us are incapable or unwilling to see a new way of tackling an issue. Some of us have been ingrained with something so deeply that we struggle to understand or believe there is another way. In either case, the “I” is leaving out the “We”, and the ego is standing in the way of a learning opportunity. Like I mentioned earlier, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (Please don’t skin cats. It’s really gross, and I think it borders on psychotic behavior.)
In a sport like baseball, there are a billion ways to teach a lot of the same things. Also, in a game as old as baseball, some “tried and true” methods have been around for centuries, which means they have been handed down and handed down and handed down…and then handed down again. This doesn’t make them right. That doesn’t make them the best way. It also doesn’t necessarily make them wrong or outdated, either.
The key to all is, in Dan Rockwell’s words, transferring from “I” to “We”. Be open to new ideas. Include your team in the process. Learn some new cat-skinning methods…figuratively, of course.
Have an awesome Tuesday,