Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Clear Communication

Posted by admin March - 16 - 2020 - Monday

My wife and I are enrolled in our church’s Leadership Academy. I am always looking to learn and grow; this opportunity to do just that has been excellent. Our Lead Pastor teaches it and the first 2 sessions have been very informative.

He spent a lot of time last week talking about effective communication. Why, as a leader, you must take care to be sure that what you are conveying to your staff and/or your team is exactly what you want them to hear. A miscommunication on your part can set off a landslide of negative emotions and misinformation that could wreck your program.

Here is a perfect example of miscommunication impacting an entire nation:

In 1815, Napoleon and his French army ruled Europe. Lord Wellington of Britain met the French in Belgium at the battle of Waterloo. To this day, “meeting your Waterloo” is an idiom for meeting your downfall. Interestingly enough, the people in England thought that Wellington had lost the battle! They fully expected Napoleon to attack Great Britain next. Here’s why…

When Wellington sent a message to the British parliament, it somehow got partially destroyed. The only thing that made it back to London said, “Wellington defeated…” The British people went crazy! Little did they know that Wellington had, in fact, decisively beaten the French! What Wellington’s message said in its entirely was: “Wellington defeated Napoleon! French in mass retreat!” WOW!!!! Now THAT is a whole different message, isn’t it?

When we as leaders fail to get our message (in its entirety) across to those we lead, it’s likely to cause significant problems.

Be sure, first off, that you DO communicate. In this day of instant communication through social media, misinformation can spread like wildfire! You need to be sure that your staff, players, administrators and parents are kept informed. Cut off rumors before they can get started.

Secondly, make your communique’s brief. I like to call myself a “bullet’s guy.” Hit the high points. If people want more details, they can contact you. Unfortunately, too many people in these times lack good reading comprehension skills. Be “to the point!”

Finally, use the “sandwich” method when communicating… particularly if there is something of a “negative” that you have to pass along. Start with the “first piece of bread” in the sandwich and say/write something positive. Then sandwich in the negative that you have to share. But always finish with the “other piece of bread” and close with a positive statement.

Be an encourager. Speak life. People get enough criticism as it is. You, as the leader, need to be that positive voice when everyone around you is “crying the blues!”

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