I’m an avid student of leadership and a huge fan of the Red Sox, so I was drawn to an interview of Terry Francona (manager of the Red Sox) in the Washington Post. In this video interview, Steve Pearlstein asks Francona a number of questions about his leadership style.
Here are some insights from the interview:
Alignment through vision: Francona says that he tries to create an atmosphere where good players want to do the right thing; they show up on time and play the game the right way. To do that, he tries to get everyone going the same direction without a ton of meetings. His view of daily meetings: players “will get deaf with you.”
- My take: Leaders need to paint a clear vision that aligns the actions of their entire organization.
Unofficial leaders: There are many leaders in the Red Sox clubhouse; Francona mentions Jason Varitek, Dustin Pedroia, and Jason Bay. He says that they lead by example. Other players respect it when they see you grind through injuries, slumps, and successes.
- My take: Identify and enlist the “unofficial” leaders throughout your organization.
ROI of fun: Francona thinks it’s important for the players to have a lot of fun and enjoy what they’re doing.
- My take: People will work harder and better if they enjoy what they do. So make to invest (time and money) on making things enjoyable. Think of it this way: There’s significant ROI from enjoyability.
Power of culture: The clubhouse belongs to the players; Francona thinks they should police things on their own.
- My take: Create a culture where people are committed to your mission and they expect the same from others.
Honesty matters: You need to be honest with players; even if it’s not what they want to hear. In the long-run, they’ll respect you for doing that.
- My take: This goes along with a quote that I love from Jack Welch: “Deal with the world as it is, not how you’d like it to be.”
Keep talking: Francona felt that the most critical interaction with players is after “butting heads” with them when things have gone wrong; you need to talk about how to fix things. It makes for stronger relationships.
- My take: Always keep the lines of communications open; especially when it’s seemingly the hardest.
The bottom line: I’m rooting for a lot of success from Francona’s leadership!