Coaches, be boring.
Spend the time to know-really know-what you care about, what your language is, what the standards are…what’s this thing all about?
If you have a simple set of terms that work for you on and off the field, a glossary that everyone knows, it doesn’t matter if people have a variety of accents.
Coaches who say the same thing over and over, in a language that people understand are not boring, they are consistent and easy to play for.
And they often win.
We don’t spend time on strategies when learning how to talk.
Mostly, as babies, we listen to the adults around us, we watch as they are communicating and we do the same.
There really is typically not in a how-to guide to communication for developing humans. But there should be for organizations.
Organizations and teams that spend time with specifics–who strategize about how they best communicate–can make themselves into more effective communicators.
Every organization needs their own how-to guide. AND, they need to revise and rewrite it regularly.
Does this org value top-down manuals that tell people what to do? Do you want completely open, everyone-can-say-anything systems? Some hybrid? Decide what you want it to look like, and not look like, and get to work building it.*
*the “it” can really be anything.
When someone says, “it’s personal”, they usually mean that they don’t want to talk about that it.
It’s often used as a replacement for, “none of your business”, or “leave me alone”.
So, let’s say what we mean.
Almost everything we talk about is personal. Most humans talk about their own thoughts & feelings more than anything else.
No more using “it’s personal” as an excuse. Be precise with your language.
When people don’t know what’s going on, they make something up.
Most are uncomfortable with the feeling, “I don’t know,” so they insert a story into the situation. It’s really a part of the human condition.
Do any of these sound familiar?
“She must just be a &#^&$ ,”, or “He’s just reacting to that thing that happened.”, or “I’m pretty sure that those guys are not the kind of guys we want to hang out with.”
Things go south QUICKLY on teams when things are not easy and communication is not valued. Or perhaps good “communication” is not defined well to be understood among the individuals, and so people have to make up stories to fill the gaps in understanding.
What if coaches made it their top priority to define great communication, display the standards through positive and negative examples and talked about it
Would that help?
What if you did the work to know what was truly important to you?
What if you saw all of your actions thru a lens of the values you believe deeply in? What if you really knew what those were?
What if you worked hard to really value the impact of your actions based upon higher values that winning and losing? It might work.
Keep doing, and work harder on being.
People have to sign things in order to participate. From elementary school to the NCAA, one can’t participate unless they agree to do or not do certain things. This we (mostly) easily accept, and regardless, the rules are really clear.
You likely have written rules for your team, no matter what type of team it is. Perhaps a handbook, employee guide, posters in the lockerroom or a contract to sign.
On the flip side, many of us have more unwritten rules than written ones. “Work hard”, “show respect”, “be a good teammate”, are all big picture unwritten rules.
Does everyone on your team know exactly what is meant by those unwritten rules? Do you know?
Perhaps you also have some that are similar to these: “freshman do the grunt work”, or “the head coach is always right”.
It’s time well spent to investigate and know what the unwritten rules are on your team–you may not even know that they exist–and to clarify the ones you like. Even more importantly, shine light on the ones that are not valid or helpful to your team (“we drink a lot on Saturday nights”), and rid your team of these unhelpful rules.
Did you ever notice that when you shine a flashlight under the bed, or simply turn on the lights, that the boogeyman disappears?
If you have issue in your operation or in any relationship, it works to turn on the lights. Illuminate the concerns, even if you are unsure who is “right” or what the “right” thing to do is.
State the facts, solicit opinions, and see if bringing it out in the open helps to give you ideas as to how to proceed.
“The thing to do” is often super clear after you get a good look at the problem. Reflect on your values and the lens at which you see the world, and a course of action will show itself.