It’s a big week for D.C. The Washington Nationals make their first appearance at the 2019 World Series.
This will be the first World Series for the district since the Senators (Washington’s former Major League Baseball team) played in 1933. Most fans and foes can agree, this year has presented a much-deserved opportunity of a World Championship for the team.
The Nationals are only one of two teams, along with the Seattle Mariners of the American League, who have never won a league pennant or played in the World Series. But after sweeping the Cardinals in the playoffs, the Nationals are on their way to make history — whether or not they win the championship.
Some may say, after all these years, the stars finally aligned for the Nationals. Yet many experts agree, for a number of factors, this year the Nationals were playing to win.
“I can’t think of a more deserving team to win a series like this,” wrote Sami Higgins of the Nationals after the playoffs, on SBNation.com.
While the game of baseball can teach leaders a number of invaluable lessons on leadership and team building, this story is unique. A story like the Nationals, who have made their way to the World Series after 86 years, offers a lesson of team building and tenacity that not all teams can tell.
Here are five lessons every leader can learn from the Nationals’ first World Series:
- You may be a great coach, but who you have on your team makes all the difference. As leaders, we are often focused on how to sharpen our leadership, how to refine our roles and how to fix ourselves. But sometimes, we forget how much emphasis should be put on our teams. It is an undeniable fact in baseball, but at times overlooked in businesses: In order to win, you need a solid team.
- There’s more to a team than its star pitcher. It is unfortunate when teams are celebrated solely for one star player, when it takes a team to win the game. While some individuals may have more obvious talents, each role plays a vital part to make the team complete.
- Always be prepared for a curveball. In baseball you will see opposing coaches and teammates sending signals you don’t always understand. Still, teams have to be ready for whatever move may come their way. Smart leaders are always on the lookout for their teams, preparing them for whatever curveball may be ahead.
- Sometimes it’s more about chemistry than talent. Some of the most surprising teams and underdogs who have paved their way to a championship don’t necessarily have the most talented teams, but they have teams with chemistry. When a team can develop real trust in each other, that can be stronger than just banking on one or two very skilled individuals. Talent can easily burn out, but comradery among a team can stand the test of time.
- Believe in your team. Ryan Fagan, a reporter for Sportingnews.com, wrote, “There’s a difference between lip-service confidence and an iron-clad belief in yourself and your teammates. The Nationals have had the talent every time they’ve made the postseason. Now, for the first time, they have the belief, too.” Instill a lasting belief in your team that they can achieve whatever they set out to do. There may be no greater drive for a team player than knowing that their coach believes they are capable to win.
As the excitement of the Nationals’ first World Series is underway, it offers leaders a great example of what can be achieved when they can bring their teams in unison. Just as it is not a fluke that the Nationals made it to the World Series, successful teams and businesses aren’t a fluke. Winning teams aren’t the result of a coach or just one superstar athlete. Rather, championships are the result of years of dedication, concentrated efforts, and a strong team morale.
Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the President of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and is the author of "Framework Leadership." A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the president of one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. As president, Ingle founded the American Center for Political Leadership at the university and is also a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming Southeastern’s president in 2011, Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. Ingle is the author of several leadership books and the creator of the Framework Leadership podcast. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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