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The Difference Between Big Personalities and Great Leaders

When the 2012 Major League Baseball season came to a close, the usual letting go of some players and managers took place.

Most noticeable to me was the firing of Boston Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine and the firing of Ozzie Guillen, the manager of the Miami Marlins.

Both men are in their first year as managers for their respective clubs. However, both men have served as managers for other teams in the past.

What I find interesting is how both men have the reputation of being “Big Personalities” in the baseball world.

In fact, I would go so far as to say both men were hired as much for their big personality as for their ability to lead a major league ball club effectively.

Unfortunately for both men, their teams under-performed in a big way this year, disappointing fans, team members and the front office.

It has cost both of them their job and the city of Miami the hope of building momentum for their newly renamed and rebranded ball club. 

Which brings me to my Main Observation: There is a big difference between a “Big Personality” and good leadership. 

The baseball world is a microcosm of how the world of leadership has changed in the last decade.

No longer can a “Big Personality” compensate for poor leadership, especially when you’re called upon to lead the young generation.

Every 30-and-under high-capacity leader I know has a radar for authenticity, vulnerability and approachability. No longer can poor leadership hide behind “Big Personality.” The proof shows up in the results every time.

The challenging takeaway for us as leaders is to examine ourselves. 

  • Where are we prone to leverage our “Big Personality” instead of doing the hard work of leading well? 
  • Where are we using our personality instead of facing ourselves and becoming a better leader? 
  • Where are we hoping our “Big Personality” will cover up poor performance on our part?
The world of leadership is changing both inside and outside the baseball landscape. Wise is the organization and the leader who takes note and acts accordingly.