One of the coaches I work with always says that we’re the CEO’s of our sport…we’re running the show. So when I ran across this article (Why Every Company Needs a Leadership Strategy), it made me think about all of us head coaches who work so hard to create a winning culture, environment, and winning expectations.
We know we need leaders. We know we should train them, but how? Beyond that, do our athletes know our coaching priorities? What will consider to be “success” at the end of the season? Is it only winning? Does winning without honor count? Do they know why they’re on your team instead of at another school? If not, we’ve got to create an information/training strategy that ensures that the same information is passed down year after year, team after team.
How about amongst your staff? Is everyone on the same page as far as what you’re looking for? Not just positions, but what about personalities? Do you need more gritty players? Or maybe enthusiastic players? How will you tailor your recruiting schpiel to increase the odds of filling your team needs…both tangible and intangible?
There are three requirements for an executable leadership strategy with our teams:
- A leadership selection system, to ensure the team gets the leaders it really needs. How do you pick your captains? Does the team vote? Do the coaches decide? Does the team understand the requirements of being a team captain? Are they able to opt out?
- Leadership development efforts that support leaders so they can adapt to the team’s needs. Once you’ve got team captains, what training is involved? How often do they meet with the coaching staff? Are they given decision-making authority? (It could be something as small as deciding where to eat after the game.)
- A succession management process that identifies, accelerates, and supports the identification and accelerated growth of the next generation of leaders. That’s super business-y sounding, but it’s true. We’ve got to identify future captains and groom them so they’re ready once they’re elected. What would that process look like? Would it entail formal or informal training?
Personally, I need to think a bit more critically about how me pick, educate, and cultivate leaders on our team. For many reasons: to make sure we’re being fair, to make sure the staff isn’t blinded by personal bias (sometimes you just love a player, but they’re not ready to be a captain), and to make sure the team buys in to their captains.
I’ll be back next time to discuss a communication strategy from this same article that will help us make sure the entire team is on the same page.