Los Angeles Angels outfielders Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells are highly decorated all-star athletes. Between the two they have 12 Gold Gloves, 481 home runs, and 1,782 RBIs. Hunter in particular has won nine consecutive Gold Glove awards for his play as a center fielder.
So why would these two veteran players both move to other outfield positions and allow a young, talented, but unproven player named Peter Bourjos to take over their position?
The answer is very simple –The moves make them a better team and gives the Angels a better opportunity to win a World Series. As Hunter said in today’s USA Today “I had to swallow my pride. But hey, I’ve got my Gold Glove awards. I’ve got my Silver Slugger awards. What I want is a ring.”
Wells went on to add “As a competitor, you still think you can play your position at a high level, but what’s important is making your team better. You look at Torii. He showed how much he cares about the team, cares about the organization.”
Hunter and Wells remind us that we all win when you put team goals over personal agendas. Some of the benefits are the following:
- You Leverage Experience – The young Bourjos now has two talented veterans on either side of him to learn from.
- A Leadership Culture – Leaders serve others or they serve themselves. One increases influence while the other decreases influence. Hunter and Wells showed great leadership and have increased their influence.
- Expanded Base Of Talent – Because of the unselfishness of two players, the Angels are now able to put more talented people on field at the same time.
- Deeper Bench – The Law of the Bench, taught by John Maxwell, tells us that great teams have great depth.
- Versatility – People that put the team first are willing to serve anywhere. An unexpected bi-product of this attitude is a broad-based skill set.
- Loyalty – When you are loyal to the team and its success, the team is loyal to you.
- Longevity – One of the results of the team’s loyalty is the longevity you have with the organization.
- Team Success – It’s been said that there is no limit to how much you can accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit. I agree.
- High Morale – Morale is its highest when teams are winning.
- A Spirit Of Generosity – People that put their teams first understand life is not about them. They are constantly looking for opportunities to give themselves away for the benefit of others.
Because of the actions of Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells, I’m rooting for the Los Angeles Angels this year. They are a great example of what sacrificial leadership looks like.
Here are two questions for everyone reading this post – As a team member, do you put your team’s interest ahead of your own? And finally, would your fellow teammates agree with you?
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