Do You Manage Your Team Like a Bowling or Baseball Team?

Manage your team
How do you manage your team?

If you ask any manager, he or she would most likely tell you they manage a team.  Some will go as far as to tell you that they’re not a manager, they are a coach.  They’re just there to help the team succeed.

There has never been a shortage of sports analogies in the business world.  We hit home runs in our presentations. Or it may be fourth and long on a particular sale until we throw up the Hail Mary and score a touchdown!

Manage your team like a baseball team…

I’m a sports fan myself and my favorite sport is baseball. When I think of a team playing together, I imagine a batter that lays down a sacrifice bunt in order to move the runners across, or an outfielder backing up another outfielder in case his teammate misses that high fly ball.

That’s what players on a team do.  They make sacrifices to allow others to advance and they back each other up for the team to succeed.

Manage your team like a bowling team…

I have a friend who is an avid bowler.  He was once talking to me about the bowling team he was on. I questioned him on it and the conversation went something like this.

“How does bowling work as a team sport?”

“We try to find the five best bowlers we can find and we play against another team each week in our league.”

“Aren’t you just tallying up each individual’s total score and comparing it to the same for the other team?”

“Well… yes.  That’s how it works.”

“Do you ever have to back the guys up on your team?”

“How would you do that?”

“If someone bowls a first ball that leaves a tough pickup, say the seven-pin; do you bring in someone that’s good at picking up seven-pins?”

“Of course not! Each bowler has to pick up their own spares.”

“So it’s not really a bowling team.  It’s really more of a bowling group, a group of individuals that total up their scores against the totals of another group of individuals. They don’t really play together; they just kind of play at the same time.”

“No, it’s a bowling team.  They don’t call them bowling groups.”

And on and on it went.  The point I was trying to make was that a real team interacts with more than just high-fives when someone does well. They work together to pull off a double play or make some kind of sacrifice to help the team.

See my related post: Tell Me Again About Your Great Leadership

What kind of team do you manage?  Are they like a baseball team that helps each other out?  A team who’s total is greater than the sum of the parts?  A team that actually works together?

Or is it more like a bowling team that’s really just a group of people working at the same time?

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms. 

Related Posts
Consulting Skill: Getting Others to Communicate
  One of the most critical consulting skills is communication.  A good consultant needs to know when to communicate, when not to, and the most effective way to do it when ...
READ MORE
Playgrounds, Checklists and Making Things Idiot Proof
An article in the New York Times from July of 2011 entitled "Can a Playground Be Too Safe?" discusses the trend over the past few decades of making playgrounds safer.  By ...
READ MORE
Performance Evaluations – Carrot  or Stick?
At some point in each year companies finish up their annual performance evaluations.  It can be a bittersweet time.  You get to receive some frank feedback from your boss, while being ...
READ MORE
Contrasting Middle-School Management Styles
Like millions of kids out there, my son is just winding down the school year.  He’s a good student but also a free spirit and sometimes goes beyond his limits ...
READ MORE
Is It Bad To Be a Bossy Woman?
There has been a lot of talk about bossy women lately.  Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is leading a formidable group of successful women, including Condoleezza Rice and Girl Scouts CEO ...
READ MORE
The 2 Biggest Management Challenges
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of sitting on both sides of the management desk.  I’ve managed a lot of people and in the process, mismanaged some of them.  ...
READ MORE
Management Flexibility: That’s Not How I’d Do It
There is an age-old debate about how the toilet paper should roll for most efficient dispensing.  One school of thought says the paper should roll up from the bottom while ...
READ MORE
What I’ve Learned From Leadership Analysis
My kids sometimes come home from school frustrated by someone who didn’t treat them well or maybe just acted like a selfish jerk. I’ve tried to teach them that people ...
READ MORE
A Mentoring Role Reversal
Most of us have had some exposure to a mentoring program.  Many companies implement programs at various levels of formality and to various levels of success. Some organizations establish formal policies ...
READ MORE
Bossing Around: The Next Best Thing to Leadership
Over the years, I’ve worked under many management styles. I’ve reported to managers that were so command and control that I questioned every decision I made, wondering if I was ...
READ MORE
Consulting Skill: Getting Others to Communicate
Playgrounds, Checklists and Making Things Idiot Proof
Performance Evaluations – Carrot or Stick?
Contrasting Middle-School Management Styles
Is It Bad To Be a Bossy Woman?
The 2 Biggest Management Challenges
Management Flexibility: That’s Not How I’d Do It
What I’ve Learned From Leadership Analysis
A Mentoring Role Reversal
Bossing Around: The Next Best Thing to Leadership