5 Traits (and Outcomes) of a Winning Manager

On the 4th of July, I spent my holiday doing what I enjoy most – watching a winning manager lead an immensely talented team. Let’s look at 5 “best practices” demonstrated by this young manager in his first year on the job.

At 45, Brad Ausmus is one of the youngest managers in professional baseball. He’s never coached at this level before. Maybe someone should tell him that he shouldn’t be this competent!  Let’s examine five traits I’ve observed (complete with photos!)

1)    Ausmus is attentive.  He’s tuned into the activities and results of his team –without being overbearing or a baby sitter.  He’s quick to share his observations with the media – praising the hard work both of those teammates who have had a good day and those who did not. This proves to his team that he ALWAYS has their back.  Outcome:  He builds loyalty and trust.

2)    Ausmus is the first to congratulate a player for a job well done. He positions himself right at the top of the stairway – it is Ausmus the players see first when they come off the field with a big hit or a big play.  Ausmus knows that the most valued rewards come from the man (or woman) at the top.  Outcome:  Players give 110% effort and are ENGAGED.

3)    Ausmus rests his most important players when they’ve run hard over a long stretch. He knows that the season is a marathon and will strategically give the sprinters a day to rest. It benefits his team physically and emotionally.  He knows they will never ask to “sit this one out.” They are not wired that way, even if a day off today means a better performance tomorrow.  Aumus shows leadership and makes the decision for them. Outcome: He maximizes their performance so they are at their best when they need it most – late in the season and in the playoffs.

4)    Ausmus puts his players in a position where they can succeed, and acts without malice if one falls off the rails. When a manager understands our talent and places us in the right seat on the right bus, that feels great.  However, we all go through rough patches, and when we do, we may need management to step in.  Ausmus will pull a young player if they struggle and then over compensate by trying too hard. (See 22-year-old Suarez’s swing below – he’s trying too hard – notice where the ball is – by his belt.)  Repeated setbacks can get into the head of even the most talented people.  When they do, they grow like weeds. A good manager can sense when that is happening, pull them out of the situation, and offer encouragement to put an end to the negative spiral.  Outcome:  Self-confidence grows under his watch.Trying to hard and missing by a mile.

5)    Ausmus is patient and steady – moderating the peaks and valleys of success that inevitably strike a team (collectively and individually.) This is especially remarkable because he has one of the most talented teams in the world (with a payroll to match!) Expectations for this team are very high.  When the Detroit Tigers recently experienced a drought, losing 19 of 28 games, Ausmus acknowledged that it was a challenging time but he exhibited great self-leadership – never losing his cool. Emotions are contagious. If he had been down or panicky, the team would have followed him. He didn’t go there.  Outcome: The team eventually righted the ship, just as he said it would all along. He didn’t lose hope, and therefore, the team didn’t either.

Key Takeaway: Use these five best practices to build loyalty, engagement, performance, trust, self-confidence and hope!

I’d love to work for this guy – what about you?  Onward!

~ Maureen  (Ideation * Strategic * Learner * Achiever * Individualization * Maximizer)  

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