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The Heart of the Batting Order

On June 2, 1925, New York Yankee Wally Pipp had a headache. Having played in more games during the previous ten seasons than any other Yankee, Pipp asked manager Miller Huggins for permission to sit out the day's game. Huggins granted the sick day and replaced Pipp at first base with rookie Lou Gehrig. The rest, as they say, is history. Pipp, despite recovering from his headache, lost his job to Gehrig who went on to play in 2,130 straight games.

Although few leaders know the Wally Pipp story, many worry about facing a similar fate. Here's one likely reason why: In a recent survey by management recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International, 65 percent of executives said they covet their boss' job. What's more, 73 percent of executives believe they could actually outperform their boss in that management role. With two-thirds of their employees waiting for a chance at bat, it's no wonder many leaders hesitate to empower their workers.

When managers perceive that they're a single strikeout away from losing their place in the leadership lineup, giving away authority becomes a difficult personal challenge. Empowering workers involves sharing the hard-earned influence and prestige associated with leadership. And that might require confronting personal insecurities about losing power.

Leading from the Heart allows you to abandon your concerns about becoming the Wally Pipp of your organization and to recognize the importance of -- and the personal satisfaction associated with -- empowering your employees.


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