The world’s greatest leader runs a baseball team

Perhaps the world needs more baseball people running it.

The general manager of the Chicago Cubs, Theo Epstein, has been named the world’s greatest leader by Forbes.

Granted, Epstein is the only baseball person on the list — LeBron James is No. 11, though — and Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau was listed at No. 22. That’s poor timing considering the Department of Justice report that suggested she and other Minneapolis leaders could have been better leaders during the 4th Precinct protests.

Epstein had a better year than Harteau, the pope, Samantha Bee and even Justin Trudeau, earning him the top spot.

His team — you may have heard — got lucky and won the World Series last year.

Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci said the world’s leaders can learn a lot from Epstein.

Said Epstein, “ If we can’t find the next technological breakthrough, well, maybe we can be better than anyone else with how we treat our players and how we connect with players and the relationships we develop and how we put them in positions to succeed. Maybe our environment will be the best in the game, maybe our vibe will be the best in the game, maybe our players will be the loosest, and maybe they’ll have the most fun, and maybe they’ll care the most. It’s impossible to quantify.

“When people do things they weren’t even sure they were capable of, I think it comes back to connection. Connection with teammates. Connection with organization. Feeling like they belong in the environment. I think it’s a human need—the need to feel connected. We don’t live in isolation. Most people don’t like working in isolation—some do, but they typically don’t end up playing Major League Baseball.”

A value for people and employees, basically the same thing every management guru has been saying — and 99.9 percent of the world’s managers and leaders ignoring — for generations.

(h/t: Paul Tosto)

  • MrE85

    I had already ruled out Fidel Castro, on several counts.

    • Rob

      “I’m not here to be loved.”

  • Zachary

    That list is pretty impressive. Looks pretty solid to me. Wasn’t there one of those ‘leadership style fads’ (think TQM or Who Moved My Cheese) from a few years ago that was baseball based?

    • I think John McCain is THE most overrated politician in America. How he is the FIRST politician on the list is beyond comprehension. He specializes in saying the things that a leader says and then caving in and following instead.

      • X.A. Smith

        I thought he was a Maverick. Can Mavericks be leaders? If so, he stopped being either in 2008.

  • crystals

    WOW, re: Harteau at 22. I wonder how many people who actually live here would agree she has “weathered these woes [4th precinct, Clark, union tension, etc.)] with the steadiness that has made her a leadership role model.”

    Side note: I always wonder the extent to which publicists & others influence rankings like these.

    • Didn’t Forbes once name Kevin McHale the NBA’s best general manager?

      • crystals

        To look on the bright side, at least it wasn’t David Kahn. (BUT STILL.)

  • Rob

    Enough with the jock sniffing. I give zero credence to any “best of” lists based on 1%ers managing other 1%ers. Whether gazillionaire ball players feel special or not matters not a whit to me.

    So, Chief Janee Harteau yes, Theo Epstein, not so much.

  • Gary F

    Samantha Bee? Just what has she done?

    • Click the link and find out.

      Oh, all right, I’ll do it for you:

      Bee became an essential voice in late-night television in 2016 with the debut of her TBS show, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee. The presidential election provided plenty of fodder for comedians, and the ­Canadian-born Bee used her show as a weekly platform for dispensing incisive and often provocative political commentary while standing out as a rare female voice in an overwhelmingly male late-night landscape. Thanks to a stream of viral clips that has earned Full Frontal’s YouTube channel more than 168 million views—from Bee’s interviewing President Obama to her ferociously tackling subjects like the Women’s March—Bee’s show has regularly beaten her former employer, The Daily Show, in the ratings.

      • Gary F

        I did, that’s why I made the comment. Yawn. I guess she’s the new “News source” for the angry left.

        • And the Cubs apparently are the favorite team for the angry right.

          Terry Francona is the greatest leader in the world. Cripes, everyone knows that.

          • Gary F

            I know lots of folks on the left that watch and love the Cubs. I don’t know anyone on the center right that bothers with Samantha Bee.

          • Right. And I get that you see the world through political philosophies and it’s hard for you not to, but her leadership in the field she’s in is independent of that and that’s what Forbes is recognizing.

            Terry Francona, on the other hand, spans all philosophies. Didn’t even make the list. Pffft!

          • Gary F

            Terry Francona is better than that list. That list is a joke.

          • Rob

            Cuz Samantha Bee is a feminist who constantly calls out the absurdity and incompetence of our white male-dominated society, economy, and political landscape (think: Freedom From Healthcare Act). So it’s no surprise that you and others on the retrograde center-right have no time for her.