“What is playing catch teaching you about leadership?”
It’s a fantastic question. I needed some time to write to figure out my answer.
Leadership is With.
At Fassnight Park, there’s a concrete handball court that I used on nice days in January to throw a ball at, trying to build up strength and endurance in my arm. But throwing a ball at a wall is not the same as playing catch with a person. Leadership is side-by-side, individuals giving of themselves, interacting with each other as part of something bigger.
Leadership is Flexible.
Not every game of catch looks the same. Leadership is not so self-consumed that they must always strut and show-off their abilities. Leadership gladly works to bring out the best in the other person.
Leadership is not about Perfect.
Failure and mistakes are our best teachers. Bad throws happen. Balls are dropped. Forget perfect and just keep playing.
Leadership is a Relationship of Trust.
Sometimes the ball is caught on the palm or the fingers and that almost always stings. But I have zero intentions of hurting you while we play catch. I’m hoping that catch creates sacred space where we can have fun together and share stories, and the willingness to share stories takes trust.
Leadership is Creative.
The phrase “We’ve always done it that way” should serve as a wake-up call, warning of complacency and apathy. Finding new people with whom to toss a ball, new locations, and ways to make this greatest of games as accessible as possible to everyone has been a beautiful lesson that creativity and perseverance go hand in hand.
Leadership is Experimenting.
Almost every day, I practice a variety of different pitch grips, just to see how it feels and how the baseball spins. I don’t throw the ball hard enough for it to actually do anything, but it’s fun to try something new. Sometimes, the ball slips and I’ll launch it over the head of my catch-playing partner. I keep trying those different grips both because it’s fun and it helps me learn new things.
Leadership Always Chooses Hope.
A leader who is not driven by a hope-filled vision of a better future is not a leader.