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
Do You Have Too Much Reliance On Process?
I remember growing up, watching my mother put recipes together.  She was meticulous in making sure that her measurements were exact.  And the meals she prepared were predictably consistent. A reliance ...
READ MORE
Imagine No Employees
Outsourcing has become common over the past several years.  Nearly every organization deals with outsourcing of some sort. It is a bit controversial. When companies outsource with offshore workers, we hear ...
READ MORE
Boundless optimism: We Need 16 to Tie, 17 for the Lead
My son had a baseball tournament this past weekend at a park complex that had multiple fields.  While we waited for another game to finish so that his team could play, ...
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
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
The Need for Control
I’ve always hated control freaks.  I’ve known and worked with quite a few.  Maybe because of my experiences with them, I’ve always tried to resist the need for control. But as ...
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
Good Manager, Poor Leader. What’s Missing?
The baseball coach was frustrated with his team. They just weren't executing. When they were up to bat, they couldn't buy a hit. The pitchers gave up too many hits. ...
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
Are You Following or Creating Your Own Market? A Parable
There was once a man we’ll call Pete, who visited the market and witnessed an upward trend of consumers buying potatoes.  He knew several potato farmers.  So he talked to ...
READ MORE
Do You Have Too Much Reliance On Process?
Imagine No Employees
Boundless optimism: We Need 16 to Tie, 17
Management Flexibility: That’s Not How I’d Do It
Contrasting Middle-School Management Styles
The Need for Control
Bossing Around: The Next Best Thing to Leadership
Good Manager, Poor Leader. What’s Missing?
What I’ve Learned From Leadership Analysis
Are You Following or Creating Your Own Market?