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Torre sees fear of failure in A-Rod

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

There’s been plenty of buzz about what former Yankees manager Joe Torre supposedly called player Alex Rodriguez. Apparently, it was A-Rod’s teammates and clubhouse attendants, not Torre, who dubbed him “A-Fraud.”

Real enlightenment comes in the way Torre actually describes the third baseman and slugger in his new book: as one of the best all-around baseball players in history who tried to fit in with the Yankees but couldn’t because of how much he dreaded failure. That quality may have contributed to another A-Rod nickname, “the Cooler,” for the way the team’s play grows chilly when he’s around.

As Torre sees it, what A-Rod lacks is trust—the kind of trust required to finish a ropes course or to perform in a high-wire act.

“There’s a certain free fall you have to go through,” Torre says in his book, The Yankee Years, “when you commit yourself without a guarantee that it’s always going to be good. There’s a trust and commitment thing that has to allow yourself to fail, be embarrassed and vulnerable. And sometimes players aren’t willing to do that.”

Only a perceptive leader could see that. And Torre, who in a little more than a decade with the club led it to six pennants and four World Series titles, is that guy.

Advice: Ask yourself what’s holding back each of your people, yourself included. Privately, ask each of them whether they see it that way. Then work together on removing the obstacles to success. 

— Adapted from The Yankee Years, Joe Torre and Tom Verducci, Doubleday, as reviewed by Julie Neal,

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