Self-Improvement through a Baseball Analogy

At my job from hell (one day I will tell that story), the mailroom supervisor had the above quote posted on her wall for all to see. My initial reaction to this was "Wow, why do they let her keep that up? That's kind of rude and screams 'I'm not a team player'".

Let me just tell you a little about me... I am a team player who will do practically anything regardless of the sacrifice to achieve a goal especially one of which I am passionate. I was a firm believer that if your co-worker needs help and you can give it then you do. No question. If I see something needs to be done then I do it regardless of whose "responsibility" it is. We are all moving toward a common goal. If we get there then does it really matter how?

The answer is... YES. Actually, it's a resounding yes.

Why? (Beware, sports analogies follow...)

#1 - Let's say the center fielder (that's baseball) is out there looking at the clouds or picking flowers then she is not prepared to catch the ball. A ball is hit and it's going straight for the one person on the field that is completely unprepared for it. The left fielder runs with all her might over to center field to chase after the ball. Center Field realizes what happened and spouts a simple "Thanks" before going back to watching the clouds. Center Field wasn't embarrassed or ashamed because she doesn't care. So now what happens the next time the ball heads her way? Center expects someone else to come bail her out.

Why did Left Field work so hard to try to cover for Center Fielder? Left Field wants to win the game, so somebody had to cover for the center fielder that isn't as interested in winning or even playing.

LESSON: If you bail someone out (more than once) then you become an enabler and they will continue to take advantage of you.

#2 - The position of Center Field exists for a reason. If only Center Field would fully do her job. Center could do it way better than anyone trying to cover for her.  If someone else was able to do it well then there would be no need for that position.

LESSON: If you are 'Center Field' then get off your ass and do your job. If you don't then you will eventually lose your position. Either you will be replaced, they will figure out they don't need your position at all, or the team could be shut down all together.

#3 - If the situation in #1 happened during a baseball game (in anything other than Tee Ball) then Center Field would be benched or even fired by the coach. What happens when the coach continues to allow Center Field to pick flowers and not be prepared? Left Field becomes resentful. Why should Left Field have to do the job of two people? Eventually, depending on Left Field's resolve, she will stop caring about the team. One of two things will happen: She becomes totally jaded and stops caring all together OR she leaves. Neither is good for the team.

LESSON: Leadership is everything. If the coach is terrible then the team will be terrible. If you are the leader then address the situation immediately. If you are on the team and you see your coach allowing poor behavior then find a new team asap! Don't stay long enough for it to negatively affect you.

Are you Center Field or Left Field?


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