One of my favorite expressions in sports comes from baseball and it’s the term “getting caught looking”.
That’s when a batter who has two strikes on them, watches the next pitch come in, gets called for a strike, and they’re out. They didn’t swing the bat; they didn’t take any action at all.
I think it’s a great metaphor for leadership.
There are times when we are in situations where taking an action has very low risk on the downside, but doing something in that moment could result in something very good.
For example, let’s say you have someone on your team who is ready to step up into a higher level of leadership. If they’ve shown leadership potential, volunteered to work on projects, asked how they can help more, they are showing they are ready to take on more responsibilty.
But, as a leader, if you wait too long to provide them with development opportunities and a way to rise in your organization, they may go somewhere else that has a clearer and faster path to leadership.
If, on the other hand, you proactively reach out to them and learn about their goals, you can quickly get them on a path to higher levels of leadership.
The reward of keeping that person engaged and contributing more to your team well outweighs whatever risks you perceive.
And you never know when taking a small risk might wind up with a home run.