Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Leadership - The Real Value Is Proven When it's Missing

I had a short conversation with a soccer coach after a recent tournament.

Coach:  "We could have won that tournament if Ryan wasn't hurt."

Me: "Missing one player cost you a three game tournament?"

Coach:  "Yeah - we missed his leadership."

Me:  "Say more."

Coach:  "I knew Ryan was a good technical player, an unselfish player, a guy the team could count on. But the real value is his presence on the field in games and in practice.  He's the guy the team looks to when things go wrong.  He tells them it will be okay and then shows them how to play hard.  He gets everyone focused and moving in practice.  He doesn't say a lot but the guys definitely worked harder when he was around.  It's easy to be a leader when you're winning or when it's time for fun.  It's harder to be a leader when you're losing or when practice is tough."

Me:  "What about the other leaders on the team?"

Coach:  "I've told them that I need them to step up.  I've asked them to be better leaders in practice and in games, but it's not happening.  We're having poor practices and it's showing in our games. I guess I'm going to have to change how I coach, and become a disciplinarian, which is not in my nature."

The team and the coach are going to grow from this experience. 

After our chat, I recognized our reliance on leaders to carry a heavy accountability for the success of a team.  However, life is unpredictable, so we need to identify and encourage positive leadership behaviors and traits in as many players and people as possible.  We need to have people ready, willing, and able to step into positions of leadership.  These players and people need to be prepared before there is a crisis. 

So, as you coach and lead, be on the lookout for opportunities to give leadership lessons to as many leaders as possible.  We need to spread the accountability for success to many leaders rather than relying on a few.  Identify and nurture our next generation of leaders on the soccer field, at home, at school, wherever and whenever you can.  We will need them.

No comments:

Post a Comment