A Few Leadership Lessons from Bobby Cox

Aug 17, 2011

Former Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox was honored this past Friday night by having his number retired and being inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame. He will surely be a first round pick for the Baseball Hall of Fame when he is eligible. He is ranked number four on the all time wins list and led the Braves to fourteen division titles and to a World Series Championship in 1995.

It is always interesting to listen to what others say about someone that they have worked/played for. Long time Braves infielder and future Hall of Famer himself, Chipper Jones said, “He took a chance on me by drafting me. I have spent the last twenty years trying to make him proud.”

Current outfielder Jason Heyward is in his second year with the team. During the one year he played for Bobby, Jason said, “He treated me like I was part of the family. He included me in his thought process and explained things to me when he really did not have to.”

Here are a few of the leadership nuggets that are so apparent in the Bobby Cox Legacy:

 1. He picked the right players. Along with the scouts and management team, Bobby consistently fielded a team of incredibly talented athletes. Picking winners was a team effort. In many cases, this was rough, unpolished talent that would be developed in Atlanta’s exellent minor league system. There were certain attributes, though, that they were looking for, such as drive, determination, and quality of character to go along with their talent.

2. He picked a certain type of player. There have been many talented players that Bobby and his staff passed on because they would not be a good fit in Atlanta. With rare exceptions, players that try and bring attention to themselves, players that complain to the press, and players have discipline problems off the field are not going to last on a Bobby Cox team. The Atlanta teams have had good chemistry over the last 20+ years because Bobby and his team picked players that had the kind of chemistry that they were looking for. It did not happen by accident.

To be continued…

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