Friday, January 30, 2015

Mr. Cub and Leadership Reflection

As many of you know, my childhood baseball hero, Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks died last week. A friend of mine sent this link to me about Banks and leadership lessons from his life. I thought this would be a good time for me to personally reflect on the five lessons mentioned in this article:
  • Enjoy what you do: Banks loved playing baseball and being with the fans. I love teaching and being with the students. Every day is an adventure. Sure, there are some challenges with teaching, but they are few compared with the joys.
  • Don't begrudge others their success: Banks played in an era with far lower salaries and it would have been easy (and human) to become frustrated that he missed out on the big money, but he never did. Jealousies can emerge in the form of personal rivalries, professional competition, and an exaggeration of the discouragements we might feel. These are tools that Satan uses extensively to divide us. I work to battle Satan on these counts through prayer and in seeking to enjoy God and rest in His care.
  • Embrace change: I feel that this is one of the strengths I bring to my school and to education as a whole. A lot of times I am not a first adopter of a new approach or tool, but I feel I am very good at analyzing these approaches and tools and adopting those that make sense fairly quickly.
  • Remember: You're only responsible for your efforts, not the final results: Banks famously had a Hall of Fame career that never landed him in baseball's postseason. His peak era as a player coincided with some very bad Cubs teams. At the end of his career the team was better, but they still missed out on a World Series. Some always claim that ultimately the career of Banks was a failure without this postseason pedigree. Banks, however, disagreed. He enjoyed his career and being a part of Chicago and the Cubs organization, no matter what the team's success (or lack of it). He found joy in the circumstances. In my career I have served at places with great growth and momentum and others where ministry seemed to be contracting. While this can be a difficult lesson for any of us, I believe that God has helped me better understand that my responsibility is not "success", however that is defined, but rather faithfulness to the tasks God has placed before me. I cannot say I yet do this perfectly, but I do see how God has worked through me to bring about a better understanding of this concept.
  • Kill 'em with kindness: Banks was known as someone who was completely generous with his time with others and always sought to make them feel important. I genuinely try to do this as well. What I have to guard against is allowing slavery to a to-do list from getting in the way of honoring people.
So there you have it -- my personal reflection on the five leadership lessons from Mr. Cub. How are you doing with these same concepts? How has God allowed you to grow? Where are you still a work in progress?

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