The Little League in Georgia selected my six-year-old godson to play in the All-Star team, and I was excited to attend the final game.
Not only did the coach ensure each child had a turn to bat, but he also allowed each child to man a different position on the field throughout the course of the game. A few days later, while watching the local news, Ron Gant, former Braves All-Star player, discussed the importance of fielding your position. While hitting the ball and scoring runs are seen as more fun, fielding your position is just as important to winning games, too.
How well this correlates to our work environment! There are times at work when meritorious exertion makes sense. However, most times, we are in the “field” and challenged to do our best there, too, especially since lazy fielding only hurts our team. How can you field your position better?
1. Focus on your own position and achievements.
Do not spend more time focused on someone else’s job or accomplishments than you do on your own. By doing this you are neglecting your job. Not only is this inappropriate, but it also does not lead to additional achievement.
2. Understand your role and the expectations for that role.
At the beginning of employment at a new place, ask your supervisor to explicitly define your role and his/her expectations for someone in that role. Even after investing time at a company, you should periodically check-in with your supervisor to ensure that the role and his/her expectations have not evolved over the years. How can you field your position if you do not understand the role and expectations?
3. Be flexible.
Although your role and expectations may be clearly defined, you never know how or when the ball will end up in your hands. Being flexible in your position will sharpen how you deal with the variety of ways you are able to do your job.
4. Be receptive to constructive criticism.
As with any job, criticism is most likely used to refine you, not to demean you. As a coach instructs players to be better, a good supervisor critiques you to improve you. Be quick to listen and quick to improve!
5. Remember that you are part of a team.
In search of glory, we often forget that we are part of a team. When you are fielding your position to the best of your ability, the whole team benefits whether you win or lose. However, if you are focused on solo efforts, this just results in a net loss neither benefitting you nor the team in the long-run.
Are you fielding your position? If not, start today.