THE BLOG
11/20/2014 04:35 pm ET Updated Jan 20, 2015

Here's How to Tell If Your Management Team Is Filled With Winners or Losers

Do you know who the winners and losers are on your management team? Sometimes it's hard to tell. But there is one obvious way to identify your winners and losers. All you have to know is who wants the ball?

In the 2000 movie, The Replacements, a film about a group of less-than-professional substitute players filling in during a pro football strike, the coach confronts the quarterback, who lost the game because he got scared and handed off the ball to another player. The coach says, "I put the game in your hands. You got scared... Winners always want the ball when the game is on the line."

The Biology of Winning

No truer words have ever been spoken. When things get tough or heroic efforts are needed, a true winner will step up and take the ball. Even when things are going well, a true winner still wants the ball. It's in their DNA.

Think about your management team. How many of them will step up and ask for the ball. Moreover, how many will take it and run with it on their own? Those who do are your winners. Those that prefer to hand off the ball or refuse to take it are the losers. It's really that simple.

Your employees fit into two groups, those that want the ball, and those that don't want the ball. The ones that want the ball are the people who take initiative, accept responsibility, and give their all to their jobs, regardless of what they are working on. You know who they are - you just may fail to recognize their contribution to the organization.

Then there are the others -- the ones who prefer to sit on the bench and refuse to take the ball and run with it. You have to constantly tell them what to do, micromanage them, and follow them around cleaning up their mess. Or they simply do the bare minimum and can't be counted on when more than minimum effort is needed.

The bottom line is that you can't win games with losers on your team. And in business, you can't win deals, grow the company, and create value when you have losers on the team. If someone isn't willing to take the ball, they need to find another team that expects less of them.

Who Wants The Ball?

Always ask yourself who in your organization wants the ball? These are the people you can count on.

Later in the movie, when the game is on the line, the quarterback says, "I want the ball," and the coach replies, "Winners always do."

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Mike Harden is an executive coach based in the DC area, serving Washington, Northern Virginia and Maryland. Contact him today to learn more.