With the end of Little League season official (congrats to Japan and Tennessee on their incredible seasons), I’ll be wrapping up the Lessons from Little League this week. Here’s # 5: As the Leader Goes, So Go the Followers.

If the leader/coach of the team is positive, encouraging, full of grace, has high standards, and so on, the followers have a chance at these things as well. Don’t expect your assistant coaches and the parents of the players on your team to rise above the level you lead with.

Conversely, if the leader/coach is negative, critical, angry, never satisfied, arrogant, argumentative, condescending, and so on, the followers will struggle to be different. Don’t expect a positive environment for kids if you aren’t actively creating it.

This is difficult, but true. So, set the tone early on your team or in your organization. Never take for granted that followers will be led anywhere but where you lead them. Take a serious look at the environment on your team, in your business, in your home. Odds are, the existing environment is there because someone in leadership created or allowed it to exist. This is true on a baseball team and in life.

Set the tone early and be consistent. Keep banging the same drum over and over. If you’re a coach, never take for granted that people feel the way you do about baseball and about kids. Repeat your philosophies over and over to the kids on your team, their parents, your assistant coaches. It will get old to some, but most need to hear it over and over. Keep the vision and philosophy in front of them.

As the leader goes, so go the followers. Be the kind of person who can say what Paul wrote to his Corinthian followers: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV).