Kansas State Basketball is learning this the hard way right now, as they were ranked in the pre-season top 5, but have suffered 3 big losses and we are not even to Christmas yet. On a radio talk show yesterday, K-State Coach Frank Martin addressed concerns with roles of leadership on his team. He mentioned that his line up is so young, and he is asking players to be leaders that have never led a group of men before.
So how do we develop leadership? I just received an email from the FCA, Impact Play – Daily Lesson whose author, former college baseball player, Chris Knight made a great point…
”I always thought that leaders had to be guys who were loud, well-liked, in control and who could make people do certain things. While leaders do need to be able to take control, through baseball, I learned that the best way to lead is not to be forceful, but to serve and go out of your way to do things completely unexpected of you.”
We have noticed over the past 10 years, and over 3000 clients that the best groups or teams that we have train with us ALWAYS have a solid leader. Leaders come in many forms…
- Vocal Leaders – the ‘yeller’ who is always loud and seems to draw everyone’s attention. This player has the confidence to step up and say what everyone is thinking, and usually has way more power than they think. They can sway the group’s effort through both motivation as well as intimidation.
- Quiet Leaders – the ‘example’ leader is usually the one that didn’t want the role of a leader, but willingly accepted it. These are the players that focus on always doing their best, no matter what the circumstance. They quietly go about their business and are usually looked up to by younger players.
- Motivating Leaders – the ‘team player’ is almost always the emotional, heartbeat of your team or group. They are the ones that lighten the mood by cracking a well-timed joke, and are the first ones to congratulate a teammate. They are not always the best player, but they can be the player that motivates great players to play at a higher level.
- Mentoring Leaders – the ‘respected’ player that leads emotionally, physically, and socially. They are the great player, which raises the level of confidence and performance of the team around them. They share experiences with their teammates, not from a critical perspective, but from an educational angle. They are they usually encompass all the above characteristics listed above, and they are usually a coach on the field – fully understanding the tactics and scheme, and when the coach is not present, can take over and lead the team or group.
Our best groups and teams have had one of each of these, and they all understood their leadership role. The Vocal Leaders held the team accountable for everything and were usually somewhat feared, the Quiet Leaders took the Vocal Leaders words and put it into action. The Motivating Leaders raised the emotion of the session or game, making the atmosphere fun and energetic, never letting anyone forget that ‘winning is fun!’ And finally, the Mentoring Leader was able to hold the others in check, leading by example, teaching small lessons from a players perspective and getting the ball into the hands of the right player at the right time, so that hours of preparation and emotion could all come together with the confidence to win.
What type of leader are you? How can you better serve your team or group? We all can lead in our own way…vocally, emotionally or simply by striving for perfection in everything we do. Today, I challenge each of you…coaches and players alike…to lead.