The leadership movie Hardball is a bit of a B-rate movie generally and probably many haven't ever heard of it. Don't be discouraged by this as it holds some great leadership content. It's not hugely deep in profound material but what I Love about this movie is that a regular stuff-up of a man is given a position of leadership and the opportunity transforms his life. This is a prime and great example of how giving someone an opportunity often gives an individual the push they need to be a great leader.
I once needed a team leader to fill a position in one of my biggest but most basic teams. Although not my first choice the only guy who really knew the information needed was a bit of a lost cause in my eyes, but none-the-less I gave him a shot. He soon realised what leadership was and how difficult not necessary it was to make hard decisions and be a leader. He absolutely excelled into one of the strongest and most dependable people I had on my key team. I was blown away but his change in leadership characteristics but this also taught me a great lesson.
Conor O'Neil (Keanu Reeves) plays the role of an in-debt gambler who was more life problems and misfortunes than most men. At his worst and most in-debted state he asks a friend for money and gets far more than he bargained for. The friend offers him money on the condition that he coaches a really poor baseball team of young boys. O'Neil has no choice other than to take the deal but what he doesn't realise is that the benefits of this team are not limited to the weekly cheque.
The Kekambas (the baseball team) are a bunch of misfits living in an almost living-hell housing projects district. The journey to success is difficult and confronting at times with this gritty realism of modern day America, but what is most confronting is the tear-jerking moment when G-Baby (The youngest team-member) is shot and killed accidentally by rival gangs. This almost destroys the team but in an unlikely event the team rally behind newly transformed O'Neil to bring them together in their weakness.
Conor O'Neil: I want you guys to take a good look at yourselves and feel proud. We made it here. We're here. What I've learned from you is that really one of the most important things in life is showing up. I'm blown away by your ability to show up through everything that's gone on. The league never wanted you to play this game, but you showed up. But, uh, we only have eight players so, we can't play.
Conor O'Neil: Good morning. Um, Gerius was a player on the Kekemas baseball team I coach. Honestly he, uh, he was too young to play. But he wanted to be a part of the team so badly, I couldn't say no. He had a great smile too though I'm not telling you anything you don't know. He was a really tough guy. Just a boy really who, uh, wanted to be around his older brother. The other day we played a really important game against a good team. And two outs in the last inning, I had no choice but to let Gerius bat. He was fearless as he stepped to the plate. I was terrified for him. With two strikes and our hopes dwindling, he hit a shot down the first base line. He won the game. And watching him raise his arms in triumph as he ran to first base, I swear I was lifted in that moment to a better place. I swear he, uh, he lifted the world in that moment. He made me a better person, even if just for that moment. I am, uh, forever grateful to Gerius for that.
Leadership Lessons: The Leadership Movie Hardball
The Leadership movie hardball is a story with some key leadership points. Although its a bunch of kids these principles from the leadership movie hardball can be adapted to any team.
1. A key to success is just turning up.
This is one of the most profound and simple leadership principles i've ever learnt but its essential. Doors open to those who just constantly turn up and show there consistency. Who would you rather have on your team? someone whos absolutely brilliant but misses half of your meetings or someone whos pretty OK but comes to everything you put on? There's a great showing of character when it comes to showing up to everything.
2. Give people opportunity to surprise you.
In this leadership movie hardball the coach is given the leadership opportunity but no one would ever expect him to succeed. Although its not exactly a story-book beginning, he shows tremendous ability and willingness to adapt to the situation. To understand this you really need to watch the movie and see the different ways in which O'Neil does this but I would let this guide you into giving unlikely people leadership opportunity on a regulated basis to see if they excel beyond your expecations.
3. Allow team dynamics to inspire you to succeed.
The Kekambas have a mixed bag of personalities and abilities which at the beginning really puts off and scares O'Neil but he starts to realise how people can fit in. This leadership movie hardball is a prime example of finding the right fit for each person. Often in our teams we struggle with different personality types and varying abilities which can be overwhelming. But I can't encourage you enough to use this as a great challenge to build a successful team. Use the incredible qualities that each one of your team members provide.