A World Series guest blog…

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”*

Do you manage your staff or do you lead them? Are you a boss or a mentor? Do you recognize that the success of your team reflects positively on you?”


Tony La Russa is acknowledged as a great baseball strategist who always seems to make the right moves at the right time. However, no matter how smart he may be he is only as good as the people who execute his ideas.

There was a great article about La Russa in the New York Times recently. He is currently managing in his sixth World Series. In each one, he has made sure that every single player on his active roster appears at least once during that Series.

Think about that for a minute. I’ll wait…

These are highly-paid athletes who are performing at the pinnacle of their sport. Their only goal is to win it all. Second place is for losers. As a manager, La Russa is charged to do everything in his power to make sure that happens. Yet, he still takes the time to make sure everyone is involved.


He explains: “It’s a simple thing. You could show a box score and say, ‘I was there, you know’ to your friends, your kids. Otherwise you could say, ‘I was there — but all right, well, show me.’ “

Don’t think for a minute that La Russa’s concern for his players doesn’t resonate with everyone on his team. This kind of move is not directly involved with winning a baseball game. It’s about treating people with care and concern.

Do you think his players would run through a wall for him? Do you think that maybe — just maybe — this is one of the reasons St. Louis overcame a 10+ game deficit to make it to the World Series?

What La Russa does is very simple: He involves his players in the process. He deals with high-priced athletes, most of whom have very large egos, yet understands they are still people, and people have emotions. It’s kind of like your job.

This is something you can easily accomplish with your staff. Whether you’re a GM, PD, or corporate Poo-bah, you can easily empower and inform the people you commission to carry out your plan. As the “boss,” it’s very easy to order someone to do what you want. As a leader, getting them to buy in and do it because they believe — that will take you farther.

Share your research with your staff. Explain to them why you are making a certain decision. Encourage their input and feedback. If you make them a part of the process, they are more likely to be part of the solution.

Or, look at this another way. A mid-day jock plays the music pre-scheduled for her, reads the liners already written for her and fills in any other holes as pre-ordained by her PD. How vested is she in this process? She will work as hard as she has to in order to keep her job. No more, no less.

If Tony La Russa can make sure all his people are involved when the pressure to win is the greatest, how easy is it for you to do the same for yours?

*Sam Walton

Today’s guest blogger is Steve Allan, former Marconi Award-winning programmer of WBIG, WODS, and others. He is now the President of a social media marketing company, SMTHREE.  You can reach Steve at 248.808.4132