Thursday, March 27, 2014

Communication, Communication, Communication

One thing I have always emphasized in leading our staff at New Beginnings is "Communication, Communication, Communication." Successful leadership always involves effective communication. This mantra can be used in any type of relationship, not just employer to employee or as in the example below from Tim Elmore, coach to player. It could include husband-wife, parent-child, sibling-sibling, friend-friend, Father-son or Father-daughter as in God the Father.

I have noticed over my 30 years of leading, including being a Captain of our high school baseball team for two years, that generally, when there are problems on a team, or an organization or in a relationship, no matter what type, it centers around a communication breakdown. In a relationship there is usually a cause or purpose for the relationship. For example, there was more than one purpose for the first human to human relationship. One of those was that God created Eve because it was not good for Adam to be alone. God, the Creator of Adam and Eve, then communicated his instructions to Adam and Eve regarding the rules of the Garden. Satan enters the picture and communicates a different message to Eve. Eve then decides to make up her own mind based on "another source" of information. She could have instead gone back to the "direct source", but she did not. Eve then communicates with Adam a different message from what God had originally instructed and Adam believes Eve instead of going back to God himself to verify His instructions.

Now we have the beginning of a messy communication breakdown, or what I also like to quote from the movie "Cool Hand Luke", "What we have here, is a failure to communicate." A couple of mistakes made here for Adam and Eve. They both failed to clarify the instructions, but they also failed to understand the purpose and the "cause" of their relationship with each other as well as with their Creator.

  • How much would it have taken for Eve or Adam to go back to God and verify His original instructions before taking action?
  • Was Adam supposed to be a leader in this relationship between Adam and Eve, or the follower?
  • Maybe IF they would have reminded themselves who was the true "leader" in each relationship they would have not had this breakdown.
Suffice it to say this communication breakdown and the many more that would follow had a dramatic impact on the history of the world as we know it.

My challenge for you is to evaluate all of your relationships, including your spiritual relationships with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. How would you rate your communication level? Do you understand the purpose or "cause" of the relationship? How can you begin to improve your communication in both giving and receiving information? If you decide to invest more time and effort, you might be amazed at how your relationships improve over time

.   Terry Langenberg

One Secret to Bridging the Gap with Team Members

As many of you know, I enjoy spending time every March working with some pro baseball teams, who partner with us at Growing Leaders and use Habitudes® as anchors to teach life principles to their minor league players. Each time, I’ve been able to meet some stellar coaches and managers of these young men. This month, Billy Boughey (our athletic program director) and I met coach Billy Horton, and he offered to write a blog on a simple reminder he got about connecting with his youngest players. Enjoy it below.
“I am entering my 3rd year as a minor league hitting coach for the San Francisco Giants. In my first season, our big league team won the World Series, and the organization rewarded all of the staff with World Series rings. Last year, the team that I was the hitting coach for won the championship in the Arizona League. Two seasons, two rings. It goes without saying that I have been blessed with good fortune and a wonderful job.
photo credit: afagen via photopin cc
photo credit: afagen via photopin cc
In my playing days, my work ethic was better than my talent, and I was always looking for ways to improve my craft. In my year of coaching with the Giants, we had a good ballclub and a lot of the players got better. However, there was a big disconnect between myself and the Latin players. The biggest chasm between us was verbal communication. I had taken Spanish class in high school and college, but over the past twenty years I have not used it on a regular basis. I was at a crossroad. I knew I had to lead the way if we were to connect. It became clear I needed to re-learn the language to better coach them.
“I started by learning what I call “Base-ish”- Baseball Spanish. I learned how to communicate our batting practice routine in Spanish and then moved on to body parts that are used in the hitter’s swing mechanics. I asked the players a lot of questions and they were more than happy to help me. According to a report I read recently, 25% of the players in pro baseball last year were Latin American. If I want to be able to communicate with my whole team, learning their language is very important. I could tell every player noticed the simple effort I put in to learn, not just lead. I believe life-long learners become life-long leaders.
“The funny thing is that when I first started down this road, it was for job security. I wanted to make myself more valuable to the organization. What it turned into was a bridge between me and the players. I showed them effort in learning their language, and they appreciated that. They saw I cared about them, and our relationships grew.
I’m convinced as a leader I needed to show the men that I was entrusted with, that I was willing to take the first step towards improving our communication. They in turn trusted me and were willing to make adjustments in their game. By me realizing what I needed to do on my end to improve communication, the players met me half way. I continue to observe each year—the best leaders are confident, competent, humble, and they lead by example.”
In addition to his coaching job with the San Francisco Giants, Billy Horton is the founder of the youth baseball organization Cactus Athletic Camps and the author of “7 Day Fast”. You can learn more about him by going to

HabitudesForAthletesWant to prepare athletes for excellence in sports and life? Check out Habitudes for Athletes.

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© 2013 Tim Elmore
Growing Leaders 270 Scientific Drive NW Suite 10 Atlanta, Ga 30092 USA
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