I was very fortunate to be in the audience for a leadership event where local leaders were speaking.

Robyn Davis is the President of Freedom House, a non-profit organization that supports homeless families.  As Robyn spoke about her journey from board member to Executive Vice President to President, she recounted many doubts about herself, along with the many ways she had to overcome those doubts.

robyn davis

Robyn had many symbols for leadership and service to the community as she worked with her team to create a real service-oriented culture. One of her symbols was a bat.

As Robyn picked up the bat to explain its meaning, she noted, “No, I don’t hit people with this.”  Instead, she challenges her team members to symbolically hit with it. Her mantra is “Swing hard or surrender your bat,” something she admits she did not come up with, but uses to inspire her team to give their all in all situations.

What occurred to me as she spoke was that she didn’t state, “Swing for the fences” or “Hit a home run.” She said, “Swing hard.”

It wasn’t about a specific outcome, it was about doing your best and giving your best.

In the great game of life, as in baseball, home runs aren’t always what are needed.

There are times when a single gets the team going. At other times, a sacrifice of our self by bunting or hitting a long fly ball will move the runners into score or scoring position.

The home run gets all the glory and the write-up, but an effective leader knows it’s the little things done to our best ability will make just as much impact.

Related:  Leaders Who Make a Difference

How Hard Should Leaders Swing?

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Chris Elliot
Chris is a practicing Servant Leader with more than 20 years experience helping organizations implement change. In his new book Thought Shredder, he outlines the process that helped him become an authentic leader.