Integrate Talent and Heart in Your Leadership

Little League has finally come to an end for our family this season.  Between watching my son’s  regular-season games and my nephew’s all-star games, we’ve logged some significant bleacher time this spring and summer. It’s a great place to watch the interplay of talent and heart.


Talent—well, that’s all over the field, even in kids as young as nine years of age. It’s amazing to see those little bodies diving for (and catching) balls, hitting home runs and sliding into second base.  Some kids are naturals and others come by it from time spent at expensive indoor “elite” practice fields, but it’s there all the same.


Heart—that shows up too, but in different ways. At our son’s first game this season, the opposing team’s catcher took a hard hit to the hand and was sidelined.  As the one coach helped him off the field, the other coaches convened to figure out whom to put into the game.  From inside the dug-out, we heard a high-pitched voice yell, “Put me in, coach!  I can do it!” That’s heart.

When it comes to leading a team, be it Little League, or Company, leaders need both talent and heart in their players.  The old adage goes, “hire for attitude, train for skill.” Given an ideal workplace scenario, wouldn’t we love all of our employees to have a generous heaping of both heart and talent? This is the real world, though and so I ask you, the Lead Change members:

If you are considering two potential team members, and one is stronger in “heart” and the other is stronger in “talent”—which would you choose?

Photo by Ed Yourdon

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