Being a Good Leader and Coach

It's March Madness! During a long layover at the Atlanta airport, basketball games were on every available screen. I observed the loud collective cheers and groans….and then I watched the close-up shots of the coaches. Such a difference in style, experience, and results!

That got me thinking. If there was a "close-up" of your family business team leader, what would we see? If you had a choice, would you want to follow him or her again?

An eye-opening exercise from one of my workshops has attendees identifying and remembering a really good coach from their past from sports, music, drama, speech, FFA, 4-H. I then have them list the qualities that made that person a good coach.  Here are some of the frequent results:

She painted a clear picture of the goals and identified the game plan. She could envision the future and outcome which lead to focus and strategy. Understanding the reasons and resources built motivation and commitment; being flexible to adapt created longevity. We all wanted to play for her.

He explained things so I could understand; then made sure I did. And he listened to me, kept an eye open for opportunities, asked for my ideas and respected my input. He understood that people are not mind readers, and some of us learn in different ways. He was eager to listen and encouraged my ability to think and solve problems.

She understood my strengths and said I was a really important member of the team. She clearly identified roles and delegated with trust and did not micromanage. She made sure the right people were trained for the right jobs which built individual success and confidence.

He cheered me on to do good work, praised me when I did…and was the teacher, holding me to account when I needed correction. His feedback was an investment in the future for both the individuals and the team. Accountability and demonstrated gratitude developed an engaged, progressive team.

She cared about me. She demonstrated her caring through time, words and actions. It was easy to want to follow and learn from one who believed in me, personally and in my role on the team.

He walked his talk. He was credible because of his experience, consistent good character and earned reputation. And, he didn't expect us to do something he wouldn't do. He led by example and had high standards for himself.

She was always eager to learn from others, including from those on the team. She was always a student, learning from all kinds of resources, including those younger and older. She would solicit input and feedback so that everyone felt part of the process.

He was honest. His morals and values were clear and he had great integrity with a passion for the team and the sport. Because I could trust him and his word, I was able to fail and succeed and grow to be a better team member.

She knew the value of work and the value of play. We worked hard. We built in practice, pacing and play. We celebrated. All recharged my passion to do better and be better, for the team, for myself, for my family, for the community.

During this season of March Madness….maybe it would be good to take a "team time-out." What do you value in a leader? What might you do to become the leader others might want to follow?

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related topics: farming, agriculture, succession, coach

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