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Wesleyan Baseball Leadership Project

The Wesleyan Baseball Leadership Project consists of the exploration of ideas, definitions and actions in pursuit of individual and group leadership dynamics and skills.

The season-long project will include multiple facets, including:
—Creating a vision and mission for the team
—Articles and examples of leadership
—Exercises in the study and practice of leadership
—Individuals charged with motivating the group in various ways
—Learning about various ways to be a leader
—Learning about servant leadership


It's in Lu Ji's Wên Fu, fourth century
A.D. "Essay on Literature"-—in the
Preface: "In making the handle
Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand."
------Axe Handles, by Gary Snyder

Observing models in front of us is a simple, yet profound way to learn. This certainly applies to leadership as well.
In observing over 30 years of leaders in the Wesleyan Baseball program, there are some great models to learn from. They each led in their own way, and in analyzing an elite group of 13 different Wesleyan Baseball leaders, here is how each individual one did it:

Through care
Through confidence, work, players being afraid of letting him down, and making everyone feel important
Through kindness, but telling guys firmly if they need to be better
Through intensity and being a good player
Through work and kindness
Through actions
Through performance
Through taking it serious and having guys be afraid of letting him down
Through Being great and relaxed, but telling guys if they need to be better
Through Work ethic and kindness
Through being fearless starting Game 1 of a series every week
Through fighting so intensely
Through work, intensity, loyalty



Steve Gilbert is a baseball writer who covers the Arizona Diamondbacks. Six years ago, he started emailing inspirational quotes and stories to a list of 33 people. Today, he has 5,000 subscribers and sends something out on weekdays. There are some really inspiring things in there - if you want to sign-up, you can do it here:

Win Your Day - Steve Gilbert

Here is his first post of this new year:

“You don’t set out to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built. You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid.’ And you do that every single day and soon you have a wall.”
-- Will Smith, actor

I send this quote out at the start of every year because it really captures the way I want to live -- one day and one moment at a time.
   Will Smith’s father tore down a wall in front of his family’s business when Will was a boy and told Will and his brother to rebuild it. They looked at the task in front of them and said it was impossible.
   Their father told them to get to work. A year and half later they had a wall that still stands today. “Don’t ever let me hear you say something is impossible again,” his dad told him when they finished.
 Happy New Year and here’s to an outstanding 2020 that we will build together, by laying one winning day on top of another.
Win Your Day!
Steve Gilbert



An inspring story from ESPN on stickball and leadership:

Stickball Boulevard



This article from the Strategies in Leadership class on Kennedy Odede '12 has been planned to be posted this week for awhile. In an interesting twist, while the blog was written in 2011, the Wesleyan Alumni magazine posted a cover story on him as well this week.

The Mayor of Kibera - Strategies of Leadership

Light by Which to Dream - Wesleyan Alumni Magazine



A unique take on studying for finals and it’s relationship to leadership:

Leadership & Finals



Here is a compelling article from the Strategies of Leadership blog, featuring former Wesleyan professor Elvin Lim. Professor Lim worked closely with a lot of the baseball players, and had some really great insight on leadership.

Elvin Lim for President



Another article from the Strategies of Leadership class, featuring Wesleyan alum Amy Shulman '82.

A Blueprint for Leadership: Show, Don't Tell - Amy Shulman



Former Wesleyan Baseball captain Joe Giaimo ’11 was a fantastic, All-NESCAC player and was also captain of the football team. He came back as a fifth-year senior after being injured. One of his amazing traits as a leader was the perseverance and persistence he showed in working his way back. When Joe was a senior, he created a class at Wesleyan called Strategies of Leadership. Each week, they discussed aspects of leadership with different guest speakers. There were many great topics discussed and here is a good summary of one class to start with:

Learning to Lead - Joe Giaimo


Examples of Leadership

Some great ideas here that can be categorized into four general concepts:

Examples of Leadership
Helping teammates
Caring for others
Giving yourself to the team
Positive Attitude

There are some great connections that are being made between theory and practice. These examples align pretty well with the previous definitions of leadership:

Definition of Leadership:
Impacting those around you
Setting positive examples
Bringing people together for a common goal
Doing the right thing
Being supportive

Leadership needs to be framed around its purpose: it is in service of creating excellence within the framework of a team. Leadership is the bind that keeps things together through good times and bad. There are all kinds of ways that leadership is being practiced on a daily basis, both big and small. Amidst all the demands and distractions that each person is facing with their own game and their own lives, it can be informative to know that there are indeed simple, effective ways to impact others as a leader as well.

Here are some great actual examples of leadership:

Helping teammates
A player helping another player assess his swing
Asking a freshman to play catch
Caring for others
Volunteering at Sandlot Baseball
Asking people questions about their lives to make them feel included
Being there for teammates in tough times
After the most crushing loss one can imagine, one player saying to another: "Hey, I want you to remember this feeling that you are experiencing right now. Think of all of the long bus rides, the weekday practices, the long nights, the weekend games that we have. These are some of the best moments that you will remember for the rest of your life. Still, let's not let this happen again next season."
Giving yourself to the team
Being the last person to leave the dugout and locker rooom - to help with rides or keeping the facilities clean, and eventually influencing others to do the same, resulting in camaraderie.
Positive Attitude
In another sport in high school, not winning a starting spot, but instead of bringing the team down with negative energy, became a vocal leader. Being a leader by handling adversity.
Respecting your coaches
Switching positions, pitching with tired arm, and never complaining once


Creating a Definition of Leadership

Summary of answers:

Definitions of Leadership:
Impacting those around you
Setting positive examples
Bringing people together for a common goal
Doing the right thing
Being supportive