Don’t be the Seattle Mariners

Ok, I admit it. I’m a big Mariner’s fan. Ask my wife, the game is always in the background in the evenings, much to her annoyance. This year’s team was supposed to be a contender, but after a third through the season, the Mariners have the worst record in the major leagues. What gives?


Well, there are a lot of theories, but this much I know: There is no clear leader on the team. The best player is Ichiro, not a native English speaker, and someone who doesn’t have the personality to lead. Most perfectionists like him are not good leaders as they tend to be internally focused. The Mariners’ executives have built a team of good citizens, but no dynamic personalities to hold teammates accountable. There is no Kirby Puckett or Jason Varitek on this team.


As I think about this sad state of affairs to my baseball team, I was reminded about the makeup of teams in business. Have you ever been on a team without charismatic leadership? No direction, no leadership, just the same routine every day? Would you play to win on that team? Big personalities can have a negative impact as well as a positive one. They are gunpowder — can be useful but also dangerous. But without them, people will not always self-motivate or find direction and purpose in their roles.


Look at the personalities in your work team. Who’s the informal leader that drives the will of the team? Is everyone too polite to call out the elephant in the room? Is there an unhealthy amount of passive aggressive behavior? Now, challenge yourself to not accept less than your “defined” success from yourself or your team. Don’t be the Seattle Mariners for goodness sake!