Play for the Name on the Front of Your Jersey

Posted by Rick Willis

Apr 20, 2012 5:46:00 PM

istock 000013780057xsmallTommy Lasorda, who coached the L.A. Dodgers for 20 years, once said that it was his job to “get the players to play for the name on the front of their jerseys, rather than the name on the back”. He understood the seventh of our Seven Cornerstones of Leadership, which is the periodic and temporary suppression of ego.Now don’t get me wrong. Strong ego is very important for each member of a team. Teams will never reach excellence unless each member has clear confidence in what they are blessed with.  However, they must also appreciate their weaknesses, and be prepared to subordinate their personal desires for the good of the team. 


And it is not just the large egos that need to be curtailed. Those with small or unstable egos can be just as damaging, as they drive team members to “keep their heads down” and miss out on contributing what the team needs from them. Every team member must be socially aware and be prepared to subordinate their egos, big or small, to the ego of the team. The trick is in striking a balance where each member “temporarily” checks their ego, and consciously steps up or steps back, depending on what the team needs at the time.

In their book “Egonomincs”, David Marcum and Steven Smith argue that “If we manage ego wisely, we get the upside it delivers….but when that intense, persistent force manages us, companies suffer real economic losses.” Learn to watch for signs of ego issues on your team. Keeping them in check can make the difference in the success or failure of your team.




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