Updated: Mar 17
We believe that every team has 3 general types of players: ME players, WE players and SEE players. Through hard work, practice, growth and resilience, SEE players have developed a different frame, a different sight-line, a different way to SEE things.
SEE players are your effective leaders. They SEE people doing great work and thank them. They SEE the better future. They SEE their desired future-self. They SEE the clear path forward for their team.
They SEE differently.
Jenn and I were being transferred by a shuttle bus from landing in Person Airport (Toronto, Canada) to the terminal where we would clear customs and exit the airport. The bus was packed full of people and a number of elderly people were standing right next to us. Two feet away from them sat a well dressed lady who had decided to place her bag on the seat next to where she was seated. During this 10-Minute shuttle trip she never once offered to move her bag, (she just looked out the window,) so that the elderly lady standing next to her could be more comfortable. Her bag was more important than humanity.
She decided not to SEE.
Because our eyes are open, it doesn't mean that we will choose to SEE.
Here's what happened when some young leaders decided to SEE things differently:
Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay (with his physical and mental disabilities) on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his challenges. Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for guidance and a few boys nodded their approval - why not? So, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess Shay can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning." Shay struggled over to the team's bench, and put on a team shirt with a broad smile; his father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart.
The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs, but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.
In the bottom of the ninth, Shay's team scored again. With two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. Would they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible. Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.
However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came. Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher took a few more steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.
The game should now have been over. The pitcher could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman to render Shay out. Instead, the pitcher picked up the soft grounder and threw the ball right over the head of the first baseman and out of reach of all his teammates. Everyone from the stands, and both teams, started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!"
Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled, and made it to first base. Everyone yelled, "Run to second; run to second!"
Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, eyes gleaming while he struggled to make it. As Shay neared second base, the right fielder, the smallest player on the team, had a chance to be a hero for his team, for the first time. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and he also intentionally threw the ball high, far over the second baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. Everyone was screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay; all the Way Shay." The opposing shortstop ran to help Shay and turned him in the direction of third base, shouting, "Run to third, Shay; run to third."
As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and those watching, were on their feet, screaming, "Shay, run home!"
Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team. Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died during the winter, having never forgotten that magical baseball game. "That day," said Shay's father softly, through tears, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world."
Leadership is not always about being a hero, but it is always about SEEing the opportunities to create HERO moments for others. Great leaders SEE people differently!
We can teach you leadership skills like how to communicate more effectively, sharpen up strategy, increase credibility, and develop teams, but only you can decide to honour other people.
WHAT and WHO will you and I choose to SEE differently this week?
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