Coaches & Leadership

I was reading an article on my phone while my wife and daughters shopped the other day entitled 6 Powerful Ways to Make Anyone Into A Great Leader: The function of a leader is to produce more leaders, not more followers.  The article appeared in Inc. Magazine July 17, 201 7and was written by Lolly Daskal, President and CEO of Lead From Within.  She said this about leadership that embodies perfectly what I have long believed and strikes to the heart of why I take the time to write these email every day:

"For me, that central message of leadership is this simple, clear thought: Within everyone there is a leader."

This is such an important message and cuts right to our 4th Guiding Principle stewardship, because if I believe the above statement, then my job is to help everyone become better leaders.  And that too should become your aim!  Because here's the deal, at worst case, your still a leader of 1 - You!

I found another excellent article entitled 7 Leadership Lessons from Bill Belichick and 6 Other Championship Coaches: Here are a few incredible takeaways from coaches who hoisted trophies in 2017 (A). I love sports and I find successful coaches to be a great study in leadership.  Here are the 7 leadership lessons from this article:

Preparation (Bill Belichick, New England Patriots)

"Leadership means building a team that is exhaustively prepared, but being able to adjust in an instant." He went on to say, "The only sign we have in the locker room is from the Art of War, 'every battle is won before it's fought.'"  

Key Takeaway: Preparation is critical for success; but, in today's fast paced world, pivoting will be required and it's only possible with great teamwork.

Team First (Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors)

His leadership style is one of a true servant leader.  After this year's title he tried to avoid the microphone in order to give his players the chance to be in the spotlight. When he he did finally speak, he used all of his time to give praise to his other coaches, players, and team ownership. Kerr knows he is just a spoke in the wheel, and it's his job to push those around him to levels of which they didn't even know they were capable.

Key Takeaway: It's not about the leader, it's about the team.

Destroy Expectations (Joe Madden, Chicago Cubs)

His leadership style is known for being quirky and unique, but there are great lessons to learn from Madden. His team didn't shy away from the expectations of them from the beginning of the season. They used terms like "Embrace the target" (world champions) and "Try not to suck."

Key takeaway: Don't shy away from high expectations, embrace them.

Love Your Teammates (Dabo Swinney, Clemson Tigers)

His leadership style is one filled with purpose and positivity. He embodies the idea of a Welder leader by consistently leveraging both love and discipline at extremely high levels. In his post game interview right after winning the championship he said, "I told our players, the difference in this game was going to be love (for each other)."

Key Takeaway: Serve your people's hearts and not their talents.

Lead by Group (Mike Sullivan, Pittsburgh Penguins)

His leadership style is one of great intensity and focus. He relies heavily on his staff and the players on the team to be leaders themselves. After a big win in the playoffs Sullivan said, "I think when we have focus--short-sighted focus on the task at hand, and we don't get ahead of ourselves or we don't dwell on what happen in the past--that's when you have the best ability to reset that mindset, it always falls back to the leadership of the group."

Key takeaway: If you are the only leader on your team you have no chance.

Relationship are Key (Dawn Staley, South Carolina Gamecocks)

Staley was a Hall of Fame player before she became a coach. She knows how important the connection with people is to the success of any leader. She lives by two mottos: 'a disciplined person can do anything' and 'dare to do what you don't want to do to get what you want.' In a recent article from players tribune she said this about the secret to leadership: "If there were ever a secret to being a great coach, that's it: the connection."

Key takeaway: You are nothing as a leader without healthy relationships.

Character Matters (Roy WIlliams, North Carolina Tarheels)

Williams is known for being an elite recruiter, which is why he has been in the postseason every year of his head coaching career outside of his first. Williams plays to his strength and spends a lot of time recruiting, but he doesn't for a second underestimate the importance of character. He wrote, "Too many coaches lower their program's standards and take talented players with questionable or poor character."

Key Takeaway: Character matters and it always will.

I think there are some excellent takeaways here.  But remember first and foremost, it starts with a mindset: within everyone there's a leader!

(A)  Article published in Inc. Magazine July 10, 20177 by John Eades, author, podcaster and CEO of LearnLoft.