Covering All Your Bases


With major league baseball in the spotlight lately, America’s favorite pastime is on the top of people’s minds. The great Tommy Lasorda once said, “Baseball is like driving. It’s the one that gets home safely that counts.” In baseball, just like in business, playing it safe means leveraging your team’s strengths and mitigating its weaknesses. To win, you have to cover all your bases by identifying the vulnerabilities in your team.

Top 10 Team Vulnerabilities

Like in baseball, a team has to function effectively as a whole in order to win. If you’re paying attention to team performance, rather than individual team member contributions, you’ll be able to spot major issues that could affect your store’s success. Here are ten of the most common team vulnerabilities.

  1. Poor coaching. Even a team full of superstars needs a good coach. Coaches provide leadership, skills, motivation, incentives, and rewards. Winning teams have players who want to do well out of respect and admiration for their coaches.
  2. Ineffective communication. Communication is a two-way street. Team members who communicate effectively do so by both sending clear messages and listening to their teammates.
  3. Absence of trust. If team members don’t trust each other – or worse, if they don’t trust their leader – they won’t be able to win in the long run. A playbook is useless unless team members can count on each other to do their parts.
  4. Insufficient training. Any sports legend will tell you that their natural talents were nurtured and strengthened through practice, practice, and more practice. In the business world, practice comes in the form employee training focused on identified team vulnerabilities.
  5. Unproductive conflict. When handled correctly, conflict can have a positive impact on a team. But if it’s left to fester, it can degrade a team’s confidence and commitment. Leaders should apply proactive conflict management and help coach their team through productive conflict resolution.
  6. Out-of-control egos. Every team has at least one superstar, but egos don’t win games. Leaders of winning teams focus on the achievement of team goals, recognizing both the people who stand out and the people who provide support in the background.
  7. Resistance to change. A team can often be measured in its ability to successfully implement change. Just like in baseball, the outlook for success in business can change in an instant. Leaders and teams that can adapt, adjust, and persevere come out on top.
  8. Camaraderie among team member generates enthusiasm and loyalty. Every time team members change due to staffing challenges, the team needs to find a new rhythm. Smart hiring, ongoing training, and staff retention will make your team stronger.
  9. Lack of focus. To be successful, teams need a way to measure that success. Smart team goals help keep members focused on achievement. In business, the scorecard isn’t measured in strike-outs and runs, but in customer loyalty and overall profitability.
  10. Any other vulnerabilities in a team will be amplified by negativity. In order for team members to perform at their best, they must be practicing and playing in a productive work environment. This doesn’t mean the conditions around them need to be perfect, but they do need to be supportive and respectful.

Manager Training for Overcoming Team Vulnerabilities

Our convenience store manager training delivers valuable training topics, such as Leading & Motivating a Team and Time Management that are tailored specifically to your assistant managers, store managers, and district managers. Click here for more information.

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