Pay attention to tonight's All-Star Game because it could teach you how to be a better leader.
One of the most interesting things about baseball's All-Star Game is how the players are chosen. There are no minimum statistical requirements a player must meet to become an All-Star. Fans, players and managers vote to determine the same number of American and National League All-Stars every season.
Think about that for a second: theoretically, the league could collectively hit .200 and set a record for total errors, strikeouts and any number of other failures, and there would be the same amount of "All-Stars" that year as any other.
That's because the All-Star game, contrary to the purpose most of us ascribe to it, is less about celebrating the game's best players and more about celebrating all of the players.
All-Star games are Major League Baseball's way of taking a moment to acknowledge the human capital that fuels the entire operation, and that includes the fans. This fact becomes especially apparent when you realize that, unlike football and basketball, MLB mandates that every team has at least one All-Star. This might seem like a marketing ploy to ensure no media market is left without representation, but regardless, it's also a way of recognizing that each team is a vital cog in the behemoth that is Major League Baseball.
As businesspeople, we know that recognition is the currency employees most crave outside of compensation.
But why do All-Star games have to be played on the field? Why can't they be "played" in every company and office? We should also take a time-out in the middle of the year to recognize the people who make our companies what they are and let them soak in some recognition for their hard work and success.
This isn't happening because most CEOs -- and I'm as guilty as the next -- look for all the things their teams are coming up short on and magnify them.
The All-Star Game should remind us that it's just as important to recognize all the things that are going right.
Every business should schedule some kind of mid-year "All-Star" celebration when everyone in the company can take a deep breath and feel proud of all they've accomplished even if they didn't meet some minimum numbers sketched out at the beginning of the year. Consider handing out different awards tailored to the specific roles your employees are responsible for.
We already come close to doing this by holding company holiday parties. But that's a fairly tangential way of saying thanks since it's virtually compulsory for companies to host these get-togethers.
I'm talking about a celebration that has nothing to do with religion, culture or any other sweeping gestalt institution. I'm taking about a celebration that is for your employees and your employees only.
So as you watch tonight's All-Star Game, take note of how joyful the players look on the field. Their expressions aren't saying, "We're proud to be the best." They're saying: "We're happy to be a part of this organization called Major League Baseball."
Holding your own "All-Star" celebration is a good way of engendering that feeling at your own company.
What are some ways you show employees you appreciate them? Tell us in the comments below.