7 Pursuit of Greatness

Benjamin Johnson

Every successful leader has an overall motivation to strive for greatness, regardless of the specific task at hand.  An overall sense of positivity is something that followers feed off of and helps be successful.  A personal leadership philosophy is leading by example, showing positivity, and motivating followers to ultimately reach a common goal.

As a leader in any environment, there is an opportunity to have an impact on the followers, either in a negative or positive way.  It is important that a leader is positive when engaging with followers to ensure that the impact on the follower is one that a leader is looking to have.  As a baseball coach, it is critical to conduct oneself and act in a positive manner.  It is very important to understand that the impact on the group of individuals is something that can make or break an individual if the experience is negative.  To provide a negative example from personal experience, there was an athlete that had a negative experience with the coaching staff and ultimately made the decision to leave the team and transfer schools.  Whether right or wrong in that situation, it goes to show the potential impact that coaches and leaders have on the group of followers and it needs to be positive.

Among leaders in today’s world, there are many great quotes that other leaders and followers can take to positively improve the way they live on a day-to-day basis.  While being in athletics, the quotes that have a positive impact are traditionally ones that come from athletes and coaches.  David Wright, New York Mets all-star third baseman, said, “Whether you have a great game or a terrible game, tomorrow’s another day and you’ve got to come out here and compete” (Sippo, n.d.).  This attitude is directed towards baseball or sports in general, and relates to other aspects of life including the workplace.  There will be days where production is down or quality of work is lacking, but it is important to avoid dwelling on the negatives and take it as motivation to improve when the next opportunity presents itself.  In regards to coaching, the previous quote is very prominent among the team and especially the pitching staff. For the team, it is important to understand the good and the bad of a game or practice and use it as an advantage.  Even if the game resulted in a win, there was something that the team could’ve done a little bit better, and it is crucial for the players to understand that.  Even after a loss, there are good things that can be taken away.  It is important to analyze the game day of, but don’t let the result effect the team the following day.  Learn from the good and the bad while improving every day, and have the end goal of being great.

Having the ability to get through to followers of being in the present and control the controllable are other concepts that can have a positive impact and ultimately lead to success.  One expression that is used with regards to being in the present is always be where your feet are.  For example, while at practice, it is important to understand what is going on at practice should be the only focus.  It does no good to stress over outside factors, such as class, grades, and homework. When in class, that should now be the main focus.  Greg Maddux, a Hall of Fame pitcher, said, “Other than my at bats, I have no control over the runs we’re going to score.  But I can control the pitches I make, how I handle my mechanics, how I control my frame of mind. That’s what benefited me most.  I can’t control what happens outside of my pitching” (Ballew, 2007).

Maddux’s words are powerful and show the importance of understanding what can and cannot be controlled.  By using the concept of control the controllable, there is the potential to remain positive when negative situations arise.  It is important to stress the previous concepts to followers, and continue to motivate followers to portray these concepts at a high level to be successful.  These concepts also help with the overall focus level of the group, avoiding outside distractions, and dodging the emotional roller coaster.  The emotional roller coaster refers to the individual’s ability to remain level headed through the ups and downs, regardless of the situation.

Leading by example is a common concept that can be good or bad.  As a leader, there needs to be the constant motivation to lead the group in a positive way.  An athlete that many people look up to and view as, not only one of the greatest players to play the game of baseball, but teammate as well, is Derek Jeter.  Jeter said, “Leadership is more about what you do, not what you say” (BaseballQuotes1, 2016) Teammates and followers were always able to count on Jeter, and it wasn’t necessarily through his words, but how hard he played the game every single time he put the uniform on.  For Jeter, it was important to be the best teammate he could be and to carry himself in ways that he would want his teammates to act.

As a leader, it can be easy to have days where effort is lacking and that’s a big reason why it can be challenging to be a great leader because the expectations are so high.  It’s difficult to be their best every day, but effort is one thing that an individual always has control over.  Effort is something followers look for in the leader, and if the leader’s effort is lacking, there is no motivation for the followers to give their best effort.

Leading by example, showing positiveness, and motivating followers to ultimately reach a common goal is something that is personally believed as a leader.  These concepts set up a leader to have success: the ability to improve every day, living in the present, controlling the controllable, and positively leading by example.



Ballew, B. (2007, December 11). Three of a kind. Retrieved from https://www.baseballamerica.com/majors/three-of-a-kind-5325/#kmVTphQTAWMXx665.97

Jetter, D. (2014, December 14). Leadership is more about what you do, not what you say. [BaseballQuotes1 Twitter Post]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/BaseballQuotes1/status/809117214582435840

Sippo, C. R. (n.d.). Great baseball quotes by David Wright, a New York Met with indefatigable spirit. Retrieved from http://motivational-quotes-for-athletes.com/great-baseball-quotes-by-david-wright-a-new-york-met-with-indefatigable-spirit/


Change: A Leader's Perspective Copyright © 2017 by Benjamin Johnson. All Rights Reserved.

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