Great Leaders Know This…

Communication. That’s the secret to baseball. That’s it. Thanks for reading my blog.

Dude that’s it.

No really.

Do you want more? Ok….

Why do I mention this? Major League baseball is unlike any other level. Why? Well…. pressure, money, distractions, tv, family, cities, weather, bad food, no sleep….yup that’s about it.

Note to coaches: Show players exactly what is considered success. If you think you explained it clearly then you didn’t. Take the ball, bat, glove, whatever, and show exactly what is expected. Ready for the key? Tell them, “As long as you do that, I don’t care what happens”. * Your job is to concentrate on the Process NOT the outcome.

That may seem strange, but what you are telling the player is that the focus is on doing the right thing, not the outcome.

Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves. Jackie Moore Bench Coach Rangers

Trust me on this one. I changed my batting stance more time than I can remember because I was focusing on quick fixes to get a desired outcome.

In order to be great you have to be willing to fail. If you are afraid to fail then you won’t learn and you will have regrets.  The military says that if you don’t know what to do then take action.

I didn’t take action. I was afraid to fail. I learned though and will be better next time.

Communicate.


20 Comments on “Great Leaders Know This…”

  1. Seth says:

    Totally agree about the micro-managing…same in business in general…the manager, i.e. leader, should be motivating and facilitating their subordinates, not whipping them to get crap done….the beatings will continue until morale improves.

  2. What are you looking for from a leader? Do you think most people understand what is expected of them, or do you think they are just doing what they think is expected?

  3. Seth says:

    For the most part I have no idea what is expected of me in a business environment. Especially as a technical person…half the time I feel like I’m doing a crappy job and then bam…I get a great review…other times its the opposite, my manager starts micromanaging me because he feels something is not getting done correctly, even though he has no idea what is going on.

    Just listening to everyone talk baseball so much, it’s no different than a business…politics, incompetent managers who get moved up for no reason, unrealistic goals, holding information from their guys, etc.

  4. Alec says:

    Hey Morgan,

    This looks like a great bog you’re setting up and I appreciate the time you’re taking to give more insight to the public.

    I agree wholeheartedly that everybody should be focusing on the process and not the outcome. Human biases always play in role in whatever you do, but the problem is much worse in the world of sports. Even if people believe in you and you’re doing the right thing, public pressure (many times based off of only looking at outcomes) especially can force managers into decisions they would never have made otherwise.

    I’d be very interested to see a post on what role statistics play in a player’s evaluation of themselves. For instance, say you walk rate is at 5%. Do players know this? Do they attempt to change fundamental aspects of how they play or are they afraid it will be too difficult or would detract from other areas of their game? Thanks for the time.

    • Nice work Alec….this is a good one. I think you have touched on the most important aspect of winning baseball….communication. Your questions deserve a post and I will start putting together thoughts on this one. I’m impressed.

      Morgan

  5. Bobby L says:

    Hey Morgan! Still miss you out at third here in Houston. This is great. Wish more guys would step up and talk us through their thought pattern. I agree, you tried to change your approach too many times. Watching Bags go through his various crazy stances probably did not help! Did you try to change when your shoulder was screwed up to improve and help with the pain?

    I will always rememember meeting you at a BBQ house in Waller Texas right after the all star break and the day before you went on the DL. You were SO friendly and took the time to talk to me even though your wife and twins were waiting in the car. Class act all the way!! Thanks for the memories!

    Bobby L.

    • Hey Bobby! I remember you! When I was hurt I just tried to do anything I could to get into a good hitting position. That obviously didn’t work. I never felt like I could relax when I played for the Astros. Every year we had at least 2 third basemen ready to take the job so I put too much pressure on myself. Instead of worry about siting on the bench, I should have focused on giving myself that best chance to hit instead of quick fixes. I didn’t have perspective.

      Morgan

  6. Gary says:

    I love this blog and this is a very interesting topic. I’d like to see you take on this topic in a little more detail as it relates to hitters coaches and MLB players. On the internets a lot of fans go bonkers when their team isn’t scoring a lot of runs and they want the hitting coach fired. But as outsiders we are really clueless about the dynamics of the player/coach relationship.

  7. jerry says:

    Morgan –

    there were a lot of things that went on at the park that i didn’t understand. but what i do know is that baseball is a masochist’s game in which the best fail over two-thirds of the time. because of the way fine-motors skills degrade under stress, baseball is also an exercise in irony in that frequently those who most want to succeed and who try the hardest are the ones who fail. they care too much.

    as a huge fan of yours, i badly wanted you to have success, and for you to remain in houston. but at the same time, i wished for you a more normal life, in which you could raise your kids and enjoy a less-stressful existence and not worry about meeting the expectations of others all the time under such duress. i hope that you can let go of all but the good memories. you were a hero on many occasions. i went home hoarse from screaming in support of your efforts. you left it all on the field and i left it all in the stands. but i never boo’d you, and never would have considered it. i always knew two things. you were a good guy, and you were trying the best you could to succeed. some days you were the hammer, and some days you were the nail, but you were always an astro, and i was always your fan.

    • Dang Jerry I want to give you a hug. Thank you for those words. I really miss playing baseball. In many respects I believe I would be better today then I was at any point in my career because of the perspective I gained.

      Morgan

  8. Jason says:

    Hi Morgan, I really enjoyed this blog. I work with students in college on leadership skills and something I like to stress is that mistakes happen. What matters is what we can learn from them, and not make the same mistake in the future. You are 100% correct that it’s about the process not the outcome. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    On a personal note, I always enjoyed watching you play and admired the way you played the game. You played it like it is supposed to be played and I respect you so much for that. Best of luck in the future, I look forward to reading what else you have to say about baseball and life.

    • Thanks Jason. I have learned so much about putting people in a position to succeed. It is interesting to me that more people don’t understand that leadership is about trust. Great leaders care about people. The question I always ask myself is “how can I help you” or “what can I do to make you succeed?” Servant leadership is my style.

      What are some books that you love on leadership?

      Morgan

  9. Morgan,

    After reading the title and first line of this post I knew I was going to like it. I have been out of college and in the “real world” for almost 3 years now and cannot stress the importance of not only communication but effective communication. In my short time as a businessman I have seen both incredibly good and incredibly bad communication and seen the effects of both. Whether in baseball or in business or in life in general, direct and honest communication is the only way to go.

    In reference to one of your first questions above-

    “What are you looking for from a leader? Do you think most people understand what is expected of them, or do you think they are just doing what they think is expected?”

    It is imperative for a leader to have open, honest, and direct communication. Leaders must know what their goals are and have a plan to get there; if the leader doesn’t have a plan, how will they lead others? In many situations I am sure that there is a lack of communication and people have to guess what they think is expected of them due to poor leadership. A good leader will let others know exactly what they expect and there should never be a question as to what that expectation is.

    I am interested in learning more about your servant leadership style, tend to see myself in that light and would like your perspective on what it means to you.

    As for books on leadership… Anything by Dale Carnegie stands out for me. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is one that comes to mind that is a good motivational read.

    I am super excited to see that you have this blog going. You were by far the most exciting Astro to watch every time I made the trip to Houston from Oklahoma. Please keep us all updated on what is going on with you as I am sure you have a bright future ahead of you.

    Jonathan

  10. Matt Wood says:

    Morgan, I really like your comment “Great leaders care about people.” Absolutely! My style, too. A great example of servant leadership is Jesus washing the disciple’s feet. He was willing to do what He was asking them to do. I think when a leader is unwilling to do what he is asking of his team, then he is not a good leader. In the past I have had bosses that tried to lead by fear and intimidation rather than by example. That does not work with me, and I doubt it works with many people. Very good point that “great leaders care…”.

  11. Scott says:

    Morgan, this blog is nothing short of fantastic. I stumbled across via the links page on The Hardball Times. As someone who played the game with a passion as far as my physical capabilities would allow, I’ve loved and appreciated every player that truly sought to be a student of the game. As I moved on to each new level of competition the intricacies of the game became of greater and greater significance. It’s a treat to hear how this trend grows exponentially at the Major League Level. As an 18-year old, lifelong Braves fan I admit to have never really taken extended interest in your career but based on the early posts of this promising blog, I really dropped the ball on that one. It sounds like you have an amazingly advanced understanding of the game and I’d just like to thank you for sharing that insight with the world.

    Sorry this reply was irrelevant to the post but after reading the blog so far, it needed to be said somewhere. I look forward to reading more!

    • Scott this is exactly why we have this forum to talk ball. People love baseball and they just want to learn. The problem is that we don’t teach them. This is exactly where my passion lies. I plan on talking about the Braves. There is something about them that is very unique and different than any other team. Do you have any idea what that might be? Remember, if you have an idea, try and look beyond the surface. If you do that, you will be able figure it out.

      Morgan

      • Scott says:

        Oh man, my entire fan-dom has occurred during the Bobby Cox, Chipper Jones, etc. era, so I can’t appreciate following the teams from years past on a day to day basis. But with respect to the Braves, my favorite aspect of the organization is how they are able to monopolize a culture. They are the team of the South, hands down. As far west as Arkansas and as far north as Virginia, there are areas where the Braves are THE team. Other teams have encompassed geography-based cultures (the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs and Cardinals come to mind for me), but not on this scale. Admittedly, this regional dominance was helped by the TBS years, but still, that’s what makes the Braves unique for me.

        *disclaimer: homer bias cannot be overstated. go bravos!

  12. Stephen Luftschein says:

    Perfect. Nothing more needs to be said. If the player engages in the form the coach teaches, and the coach is confident in his approach, that is all that can be asked.


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