Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Leadership Failure

As I have grown older I have had time to reflect on mistakes that I have made in my attempt to be a leader. One of the biggest was my failure to lead during my years on the baseball team at St. Mary's College of California. I originally attended Auburn University on a scholarship but had some problems adjusting (homesick) and decided to return to California and continue playing. I "signed" with St. Mary's College after being recruited a second time by major baseball schools like Pepperdine, UC Santa Barbara and black college powerhouse Jackson State University.

When I arrived there were a lot of expectations on me and I was not prepared to handle them. My personal life was a mess and I did not have the ability to lead in the manner that was required and I failed miserably. I failed my coaching staff, my teammates, but worst of all, I failed myself. I spent so much time complaining about the factors of my situation that I was not able to see that everyone else was looking to me to lead. That is a lot of pressure on a 19 year old but God never gives you anything that you can't handle. As I reflect I pinpointed 3 places that I failed and where others can learn from.

1. Never let your personal problems interfere with the job. No one will ever respect you because we all have problems. Yours may be more severe and they were but strength is essential in a leader.

2. Your actions will always speak louder than your words. My second year my performance on the field was markedly better than the previous year and my teammates appreciated that.

3. A little vulnerability is a good thing. When others see that you can laugh at yourself they become more comfortable with you because they don't think you are judging them

I feel bad for my teammates that I wasn't able to be the leader that I was put in a position to be. I know that it would have created lasting relationships that I currently don't have with most of them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First Signs of Leadership

I remember the first time that I was thought of as a leader. I was 8 years old. I had a lot of cousins and uncles and they would always play football at my grandmother's house. While I was not the oldest, or the biggest, I was certainly the most fearless especially when it came to sports. I wanted to play tackle football on the grass with my older cousins and uncles just to show that I could be strong. It was more than obvious that I would get crushed and I could hear my mother yelling from the porch that I can't play. Well, I played and actually scored a touchdown. Believe me when I tell you that none of these guys went easy on me it was duly earned. After the game I was immediately moved to "big cousin" status by those who were close to my age. Once you attained "big cousin" status you could pretty much boss the little ones around and they would actually listen to you. Now that I think back it is funny to have a legion of 4,5,6 and 7 year olds following you and hanging on your every word.

The take away from this for me was; always remember there is someone who admires you no matter who you admire and you must keep that in mind as an adult. Translating that to today's version of leadership is simple. The mark of a true leader is how he handles the "legion." Does he give orders for the sake of giving orders or does he lead from a place of wisdom and development.

Beginnings of a Leader

I am sure that we all remember significant moments in our lives that shaped who we are. I have always considered myself a leader in the "picked first for the basketball team" kind of way but as I have grown the research, and study of leadership and the most intricate parts of the leadership process are things that I am committed to practicing and studying for the remainder of my life.

Why start a blog? There are millions of bloggers out there that have more talent and are more interesting than me. However, I feel like my life experiences are so funny and unique that they may help others continue their search for "success" (however you define it) as I strive for mine.