Leading is much more than showing, or telling, what you know. It’s allowing others to learn, or to know what they can, at this moment.
Questions are among the most powerful tools in your kit. Authentic, “this is what I’m wondering” questions lead to amazing insights.
And, the asker is often not the primary, and certainly not the only recipient of knowledge.
In fact, questions almost never stand alone. Nor does the asker. Someone else almost always has a version of the same inquiry. By not asking out loud, opportunities are missed.
A leader among peers will find ways to encourage questions rather than stifle them with a barrage of answers.
Questions are unifying. In this unprecedented time, coaches can use strong questions to bring groups together when they can’t be together, to unify thru forcing a shared experience. Learning, together, is powerful.
Leadership can look like the solo, up front, figure, the one with the microphone, at the podium, all eyes on them. It can also look like living the values, being curious about the future and asking questions that others might be afraid to ask.
Rather than saying, “Google it,” ask, “what do you think?” and see how it goes.
In these unusual times the world is talking a lot about connection. How do we replace in-person connection with virtual or other forms of connection?
Is there a limit, or an ideal amount of communication or connection on a team?
Is it bad that I’m tired of Zoom?
This got me thinking about the types of connection on teams in “regular” circumstances. Should every team member have a tight connection with every other team member? Is this a reasonable goal on any sized team? Here are two models of connection; both have TEAM in the middle.
#1 has solid connections between each and every team member. These connections pass thru the team each time.
#2 shows each team member having a solid connection to the team. Is this enough?
This idea is built on the premise that these things are broken. What if we were to turn that negative viewpoint into one that emphasizes growing, expanding or simply clarifying the system, person or situation in question?
Does your team need fixing? Maybe, but perhaps not…or perhaps some areas need fine-tuning more than a significant overhaul. As we look for the areas of struggle–because we like fixing–we often miss out on opportunities to make our strengths even better.
When you sit in the exit row on a plane you are required to give a verbal commitment.
You commit, by agreeing out loud, to do all you can to help the entire set of passengers get out in case of an emergency.
When you say “yes”, you’re saying, “I’m prepared to be a leader,” and to do what the 143 or 175 or 300 others need you to do, according to the specific instructions.
The others are on your team. You’re sharing an experience and have the same set of guidelines. For the duration of the flight you are a team.
As a leader your get some more leg room. That’s it. It may or may not be worth it. And even if you’re in the middle in the last row, the flight will be better if you are on board with the rules of being on board.
For over 30 years I’ve been coaching college athletes, and each of those years they spend some time near the end of the season writing evaluations. These can be simply checking of boxes, or that plus writing anonymous (usually) comments.
This is consistently the saddest day of my year.
Win or lose, a season is an incredible emotional investment for all. At the end, all coaches hope that players have had a “good experience”. We want them to have grown and learned how to play as a member of a team. We don’t always tell them that, however.
Players seem to have developed this sense that college coaches are there to serve their personal development first and foremost, just as their private and paid coaches have done for their youth career.
Of course they do!
This is the experience they’ve had in sports–most youth “showcase” teams are NOT there to be a great team, they are there to get kids opportunities after they leave that team. So, why do we expect them to change their perspective just because?
College coaches need to frame the experience that’s upcoming when they join a program. This should be done in the recruiting process, and made clear again and again.
It probably doesn’t include a coach offering non-stop individual feedback , so let’s be sure everyone is clear.
We should stop saying, “they should know how to put the team first,” when most kids have very little experience with this.
There is no substitute for for good face to face (even on the phone) talk.
Talk = trust, and talk = shared experience. If you have a conversation with someone you now have a shared experience. Your perspective might not be exactly the same, and you may disagree, but you were both there.
Same goes with teams. The more we can face head on the things we do, want to do or be, with clarity and concern for each other the more the caring and shared experience grows.