There are some very good times here in Michigan of late. It seems all of the favorite teams are winning! Michigan is undefeated in Big Ten Football. Michigan State has only lost once but has beaten Ohio State, and the Detroit Lions have roared to a 5-0 record, their best since 1956.
This blog’s focus is indeed about winning but it really is about one of the best business leaders in Michigan in one of its most valuable organizations. This leader is not found in an environment such as Ford, Dow or Chrysler. He is found in the dugout. It is the Manager of the Detroit Tigers, Jim Leyland.
The Tiger skipper is currently knee deep in the playoffs with the best team he has managed in the Motor City. The Tigers, 2011 Central Division Champs, finished 15 games ahead of Cleveland, and beat the New York Yankees in the ALDS in five games. Tiger fever has finally returned again to the state of Michigan!
This current Detroit ballclub could very well be a case study in organizational structure, opportunity and success. But this discussion is about Jim Leyland the Situational Leader (uscb.edu). In 1969, Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard came up with the flexible leader model that is task focused and follower adaptive. The model is built on passion, honesty, and communication. These are the ingredients that allow Leyland to keep “doing it his way.”
For Leyland, leadership process is more critical than winning and losing. Although he hates losing, his continued focus on increasing the ability and performance of the team through changing scenarios, injuries, players and circumstances are central to the entire organization moving forward (Ed Batisa.com).
Because he truly cares for his team and the individuals, his sense of direction, motivation, and assessment plays well to his Tiger team that is on the road as often as it is at home. Huge salaries and huge egos usually go hand-in hand, but the decisions that Leyland makes are all due to situations he finds himself in. He makes moves during the heat of the game regardless of who is making the most money. Right or wrong, he makes them with the sole purpose of creating success in the ever changing circumstances.
Situational Leadership is constantly centered on changing the abilities of each and every follower and making them better (Hershey & Blanchard).
Jim once said, “I have always said the manager’s one of two things. He is either the beneficiary or the victim of his players’ performances” (Gwen Knap SFGate).
In Michigan, Jim Leyland is in the news on a daily basis. We should continue to watch and read how he deals with the challenges of October. The Lessons of WON are very clear. In every situation, delegating, supporting, coaching and directing are the essence of Leyland’s style (12manage.com).