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Help poor performers bounce back

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in Leaders & Managers,Team Building

During the 2002 baseball season, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fell into a slump. Mike Scioscia, the manager, brought his team together by leveling with them. After a particularly humiliating defeat—the Seattle Mariners beat the Angels 16-5—he swept into the locker room and fumed, hoisting a chair across the floor.

The players had never seen their manager act like this, and they froze as he stormed around the clubhouse. Finally, he screamed, “Damn it! We’re embarrassing ourselves!”

But then he paused and composed himself. “We’re playing like garbage,” he said. If we’re going to win, we’ve got to find a way to do it together.”

Looking at each player in the eyes, he concluded, “If we keep working hard and stick together, I promise you we’ll be fine.”

Then he left the room. Darin Erstad, a team leader, spoke next. He told his teammates, “We have to leave our egos at home. We have to play for the team.”

The Angels lost the next game 1-0, but then they started winning. By the end of the season, they improbably qualified for the playoffs as a Wild Card team and wound up winning the World Series.

— Adapted from Molina, Bengie Molina with Joan Ryan, Simon & Schuster.

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