Monday, March 28, 2011

Not all players can be leaders

At the close of the last ALTA season, I brought up the topic of our planned “changing of the guard” at the helm of our tennis team.  In order that no one person would get stuck performing the duties of captain for more than two consecutive seasons, we devised a policy whereby the current captain would take on an assistant during their second season in the role, that assistant would then become the new captain the following season, and so on.  However, upon speaking with someone whose opinion I value – her blunt comment was “that policy sucks” – and after further examination to understand this input, I’ve realized that I’ll either have to retain the captainship of our mixed doubles team for longer than I’d initially agreed, or find a more suitable replacement.

Not everyone can be a leader, which is something that someone with an MBA (like me) should have remembered.  While there are those that are willing to perform the duties of a leadership role – such as those that the captain of an ALTA team must do – not everyone can inspire others to follow them, which is the essence of what my trusted advisor said to me.  Make no mistake about it:  the captain of an ALTA team needs to be a leader if the team is to be successful, or at least a cohesive (even fun) group.  Until this past winter, it had been 5 full years since I’d been a tennis team captain and, the fact that I’ve been blessed by being on well-led teams as a player, I hadn’t given much thought to this obvious truth.  Perhaps I’ve taken my skills in this area for granted; I didn’t think my being our mixed doubles team’s captain made that much of a difference, especially since we didn’t make the playoffs.  But at our season ending party, I received something else that I’d only gotten twice previously in (those long ago) twenty consecutive seasons of captaining teams:  I was given a captain’s gift, a quite generous gift card to a local tennis store.

Why would I want to give up a ‘job’ that has such rewards?

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