Derek Jeter has taken his share of heat from a disgruntled fan base since taking over as CEO and co-owner of the Miami Marlins in September, primarily for his attempt to slash payroll and increase profit.
But the former New York Yankees shortstop recently had an opportunity to explain why there should be reason for hope.
Jeter was on the cover of the business magazine Fast Company’s February issue and was one of more than 100 business leaders who shared thoughts pertaining to the magazine’s theme for the month: “How to lead with optimism.”
According to Jeter, sometimes the optimistic approach requires short-term sacrifices in order to bring in long-term success.
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“When you’re in a position of leadership, every decision you make may not be popular,” Jeter said, according to the magazine.
Marlins fans can resonate with that. Within a span of seven weeks, Jeter and Co. traded four of the team’s top players — Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich — for a wealth of minor-league prospects. A fifth, catcher J.T. Realmuto, has openly requested to be traded.
While not directly talking about the trades or even specifically about the Marlins in the brief excerpt presented in the magazine, Jeter explained that his basic philosophy from a leadership standpoint prioritizes the success of the organization over the success of an individual.
“People may not agree, but they have to at least respect that you’re doing it with the best interests of the company in mind,” Jeter told the magazine. “There were times when I didn’t like some of the decisions being made about teammates of mine. But I always knew that the ultimate goal was to have the best team on the field.”
Jeter also touched on a couple other points in the excerpt:
▪ On using individualized approaches with each player: “You always hear the phrase, ‘Treat everyone the same.’ Well, treat everyone fairly, but don’t treat everyone the same. There are different personalities you’re dealing with. Some guys you can yell and scream at; others you’ve got to give a hug to, to get the best out of them. The only way you’re able to tell the difference is if you take the time to get to know them.”
▪ On preparing for uncertainty: “They say, ‘The game slows down.’ I think the game slows down when you’re prepared. When you’re not prepared, everything seems to speed up.”