As another baseball season approaches, I always assess our commitment to leadership as much as I do our commitment to stats.  Put the two together and you’ve got a winning combination.

By Tony Vittorio

Dayton – Believe it or not, the collegiate baseball season is right around the corner. At this time of the year, in the Midwest, we have to figure out how to prepare for opening day with limited time, space, facilities, and cold weather.

And one of the most talked about subjects before, during, and after a season is that of leadership. Does your team have enough of the proper leadership to be successful this season?

A few years back, I felt like in order for our team to win a championship that we needed better leadership. So, when the returning players went to their summer destinations, I shared this thought with them via email. In that email, I told them that I wanted them to email me back with their definition of leadership.

dcook@brunsrealty.comOverall, they had the right words, answers, and ideas. When I received an individual definition of leadership, I immediately replied to that player asking “based on your definition, are you a leader?” Almost to a cue, the response back from almost every player was this – “I lead by example”! How many times have you heard this? What in the world is “I lead by example?” Does this mean I am the first one to practice and last one to leave? Does it mean I stay out of trouble off the field? Does it mean that I get the bunt down? Does it mean that I am loyal, work hard, hustle, play with passion, and am a good sport?

These are all expectations. This means you are following the program or the process. This does not make you a leader. It is alright though; we need followers of the program or processes.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as “I lead by example.” A successful program automatically expects you to follow the program and the processes. A true leader will hold himself as well as others around him accountable to the program and processes. Both must be done to be labeled a true leader. Not one or the other – both!

Too many of us just expect leadership. Leadership is a long lost core value. We, as leaders, must not expect leadership. We must spend more time with teaching it to our players. At the same time we, as leaders, must continue to learn about how to lead today’s players.

Vittorio_inset0309This academic year, I made the commitment to teach our guys how to be servant leaders who connect learning with leadership and service. We are also teaching our guys that community is more than a word. It is a shared vision. It is our commitment not to simply stand on the field or sit in the dugout. It is our commitment to one another. It’s the community that we nurture. The lives we make better. It’s the changes that make a real difference.

I have also listened and learned from others about leadership. Time has been spent within our baseball program about leadership because, if you have enough leaders, you will have a successful season.

Until next time!

Tony Vittorio
Baseball Coach
University of Dayton