Seven Leadership Essentials
After researching the topic of leadership, developing and recognizing leadership over the years, I believe in applying these seven leadership essentials to coaching. The Center for Creative Leadership is a very good resource for leadership practices, strategies and articles to help you formulate your leadership values and develop your abilities. Everyone wishes we had the essentials of great leadership early on in our lives, careers. Some may have, some did not.
Such feelings are very common among coaches and teams. Many of us would be surprised to know that the student-athletes we coach believe that lessons in leadership would have been helpful to them as far back as junior high school.
Becoming a leader does not happen over night, it is acquired over years of life’s lessons.
Seven Leadership Essentials:
Who am I?
As a coach, student-athlete or parent, understanding who we are, how we think and knowing our areas of strength and weakness are vital to developing leadership qualities. As a coach understanding these traits will help us look at the ways in which our players respond to us, the effect we have on our players and how to establish a connection with them.
What is authentic leadership?
There are different meanings for authentic leadership. As coaches authentic leadership is an authenticity and refers to being open, honest and real. Look at the leaders around us. What traits do they have? What actions do have we observe that we respect? Find those traits and actions and use them to develop our authentic leadership skills.
How does leadership exist in teams?
Student-athletes learn leadership through participating on teams. That is no secret. For years businesses have looked for college graduates that have also participated on teams for their leadership abilities. Have you looked at how you are imparting your leadership knowledge on your student-athletes? Leadership is about working well with others in everything we do. The lessons in leadership learned on teams are applied to life as well.
How do I communicate?
How we use words, both written and verbal, is very important. The written and verbal world is powerful. Teach your student-athletes that communication is a two-way process. The most vital part of communicating is listening. Listen first, speak second. How we listen is as important as listening itself. Listening intently: making eye contact with who is speaking to us and using the “3-Seconds in the lane” rule before speaking (pausing 3 seconds before responding) will let people know what they are saying is important to us and we are engaged in the conversation.
What do I do with conflict?
Responding to conflict effectively and appropriately is essential. Be able to understand and teach that conflict is not “bad”, but important to improving leadership. First, identify for yourself what conflict is and know how you handle it. Evaluate each situation after it occurs. Understand how the situation went and if the resolution was beneficial.
How do my values affect my actions?
Our values help determine our actions. Make understanding your own values a priority. Determine if your value structure mimics your actions. We must try to align ourselves with people of similar values. Those around us (assistants, student-athletes, administrators) will help spread our values. Determine an action plan for sharing your values with your student-athletes. Attempt to govern your program in agreement with your values.
What’s my vision?
Can you clearly define your vision? The mission statement of your program? Ask ourselves: What are we trying to do for these student-athletes? How will we provide a vehicle for them to get there? Break this vision down into manageable time blocks: 1-month, 1st semester, first year, entire collegiate career and life after college. This helps us solidify the foundation of our leadership values and empowers our student-athletes to begin to establish their own leadership foundation. Empowering student-athletes to begin a life of leadership is very rewarding and powerful.
Jeff House: Jeff is a 25-year veteran basketball coach, analyst, instructor, speaker, and author, who’s most recent book, Mental Toughness Training for Basketball, was released in July 2010. Jeff has coached and won championships at all levels from high school to the professional ranks. During his time coaching at the collegiate level, his recruiting classes consistently ranked in the Top 10 nationally. With extensive coaching contacts throughout the nation – particularly in the southeast and Midwest – he’ll provide weekly insight and commentary on the Big Ten Conference for College Chalktalk. Visit him at All Basketball Review and on Twitter @BBbyJeffHouse.
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