There is much to be learned about leading a good life and being a good leader from Sparky Anderson. Here are three ideas to consider:
1. It's never about you. Sparky put it this way:
Baseball is a simple game. If you have good players, and you keep them in the right frame of mind, the manager is a success. The players make the manager. It's never the other way. If a team is in a positive frame of mind, it will have a good attitude. If it has a good attitude, it will make a commitment to playing the game right. If it plays the game right, it will win-unless, of course, it doesn't have enough talent to win, and no manager can make goose-liver pate out of goose feathers, so why worry?
2. Principles' are more important than pay. In 1985 the California Angels contacted the Detroit Tigers for permission to talk to Sparky about returning home to Los Angeles to become their manager. Sparky told the Tigers to tell the Angels he was not interested without even inquiring about how much money was being offered. When he came to the Tigers in 1979 he had promised that he would stay in Detroit until he was fired and he would keep his word.
In 1995 Sparky was the only manager in baseball who refused to manage the replacement players that were going to be put in place. Sparky refused to do this because for him it went against the integrity of the game. He put his $2 million salary and future induction into the Hall of Fame at risk. He would not compromise his integrity. Sparky put it this way:
"If you don't stand up for everything you believe in, you got no place to stand. If principle has a price tag, then it ain't worth nothin' in the first place."
3. Treat everybody great! Sparky tried to put a smile on the face of everybody he met every day. His players marveled watching him every day he came to work as he stopped to visit with every stadium employee and address them by name. For Sparky it was like that everywhere he went. He put it this way:
"What you really gotta do is treat everybody right. Every person out there is a child of God. Ain't no one person more special than anyone else. God likes to see all of His children happy. If you wanna make God happy, just go out and make His children feel good. It doesn't cost a nickel to be nice to people. It's something you can give away for free and it means more than a million dollars. Sometimes the smallest thing done by a stranger turns out to be the biggest part of someone else's life."
Will you make a stranger smile tomorrow?