Byron's Babbles

Remembering Tommy Lasorda Leadership

Posted in Baseball, Coaching, Global Leadership, Humanocracy, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on January 9, 2021

The world of baseball lost a great one this past Thursday with the passing of Tommy Lasorda at his home at the age of 93. He won his first World Series as a major league manager the year I graduated from high school. I remember his antics on the field and off the field. He was such an enthusiastic and animated person. His players loved and respected him. Under Lasorda’s leadership his teams won 1,630 games in the major leagues. This figure includes his postseason wins as well. He was at the helm of the Dodgers for seven division titles, four World Series appearances and two world championships, in 1981 and 1988. After he retired, he managed the United States baseball team to gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Lasorda had said in interviews that the Olympics gold medal was won of his proudest moment.

The point I want to make in this post comes from Lasorda’s great biography, I Live For This: Baseball’s Last True Believer. Lasorda told of his experience playing for the Triple-A Denver Bears and learning from manager Ralph Houk, who became his role model. Lasorda reflected, “Ralph taught me that if you treat players like human beings, they will play like Superman.” He went on to write, “He [Ralph Houk] taught me how a pat on a shoulder can be just as important as a kick in the butt.″ Tommy Lasorda had a gift of knowing what his players needed. Lasorda was a human-centric leader. Some leaders treat their people as resources, to be used. These same leaders see their team members as mere handles to be cranked to complete tasks. The leaders I have most respected, on the other hand, treat others like human beings, form relationships that are about the whole person, going beyond just treating people as a supply. It’s about being people oriented and people centered.

The loss of Tommy Lasorda leaves a big void in the world. Let’s remember him by honoring his legacy of treating his players like human beings and make sure we are doing that as leaders as well.

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