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Apr 10, 2014

In a sure sign that Spring is finally here, another season of Major League Baseball is in full swing.

For everyone officially back to work — players, coaches, umpires, etc. — this is the start of a long six months (Major League Baseball clubs typically receive 3-4 off days a month, or roughly 20 each season).

We’ve discussed how NFL players’ determination stems from their internal desire to be not just great, but among the elite. This isn’t to suggest that baseball players are any less motivated, but they need to withstand the demands of 162 games and living out of a suitcase from March to October to perform their best on the field.

So, enter the man responsible for this and keeping distractions to a minimum, all while tasked with winning games: the team’s manager.

Managing personalities, not the work

It seems ridiculous to think that a baseball manager could show an immensely talented player, take reigning American League MVP Miguel Cabrera for instance, how to play the sport. No, managers–just as in the traditional office space — provide their individual players with the support they require to succeed:

  • MVP candidates – Contrary to some, workplace superstars shouldn’t just be left alone because they’re exceptional. Your highest performing employees also need to be recognized for the jobs they do. Otherwise, they can begin to feel under appreciated after a while. Recognizing the star employees can also help raise the bar for lower-performing colleagues.
  • Role players – Every team has someone who can singlehandedly pull the group through difficult times, but not everyone relishes that spotlight. For every team leader who runs a project, there’s always a technological expert or proofreader whose behind the scenes responsibilities are equally as important. Great managers recognize and appreciate the individual efforts it takes for the team to be successful.
  • Slumping players – An overwhelming workload, diminished sense of purpose, or personal issues outside of work can result in employees who may struggle on occasion. Admittedly, it takes a manager’s keen eye to spot a slump; but two-way communication and extending a helping hand is the best method of getting an employee back on track sooner than later.

Think about the many personalities in your workspace — are they introverted or more outgoing? Do people prefer to work independently or in a more collaborative environment? What steps do you take to keep them all engaged?

This was originally published on the Michael C. Fina blog.

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