Devin Mesoraco is a baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds. He spends his time behind the plate catching a leather-covered piece of rubber. Sometimes it comes at him moving just a tad more than 100 mph. I have some insight into catching a ball hurling through space. I was on both sides of the pitcher/catcher equation in fast pitch softball in college. I can assure you, I neither caught nor threw at that velocity!
As a catcher, and at that speed, you have to be ready for anything.
Even though the catcher gives the signals and expects the pitch to match the signal, that doesn’t always happen. So, you have to align your expectations and understand what’s possible outside of them.
The unexpected also peaks its head in when Devin steps up to the batter’s box.
Traditionally, catchers aren’t expected to be good hitters. They’re expending energy all game long in ways that other players aren’t. Their knees are crunching and squeaking. They’re diving to the right and left and getting hit by that leather missile on regular occasions.
And yet, Devin just hit another home run in a game last week. That makes five games in a row where he swung mightily and launched the ball into the stands, displacing peanuts and popcorn and giving one lucky fan a souvenir to take away with her. He’s got the highest batting average on the team despite batting toward the bottom of the lineup for most of the season.
Here’s the thing.
If Devin just played to what they expected of him as a batting catcher, he would still be in the bottom of the pack. His passion and focus has propelled him up the charts and he’s now hitting “clean-up” — the preeminent spot for a hitter on the team.
What Do You See In Your Players?
This miracle of movement requires two things – the hitter to work hard on the game, and the team leaders to recognize that even a catcher can be a hitter.
The sooner coaches/leaders see team members beyond their preconceived notions, the better the player, and the better the team. Try this:
- Ask yourself what your employees’ top strengths are.
- Look for how they’re utilizing those strengths in the work they’re doing.
- Think about how they could use those strengths to contribute in new ways.
- Engage your employees in their own quest to find and use their strengths in new ways.
Sometimes, making time to look for the strengths in your people gives you another chance to see what’s best about them, and help them put it into action!
How do you see your players, and how might that view allow them to cross the plate after yet another home run?!