Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Effective Leadership

Posted by admin March - 21 - 2018 - Wednesday

Three times now this week I’ve been “confronted” with situations where people are discussing leadership with me. If you are a coach or teacher or businessperson, effective leadership is a key to making a team or organization successful. I’m going to present some “notes” on leadership that I’ve gleaned over the years.

The first thing I should say is… if you want to be an effective leader, you need to study effective leaders! For me, that means reading biographies. Whether it was famous Americans when I was in school or since I started coaching high school football, I read every biography I can find about successful coaches. I learned about the man and his ways of leading and motivating. It has been invaluable in my career. I strongly recommend that you do this. It’s part of being a “student of the game.”

I just heard this recently and I think it is good! For assistant coaches (particularly those who want to be or… think they’re ready to be head coaches!), you need to know that you are already a head coach! If your position coaching assignment is linebackers then you are the HEAD Coach of the linebackers! If your position is offensive centers and guards, then you are the Head Coach of the Centers and Guards! Take pride in the responsibilities given to you and be the best coach you can be for those kids you coach up day by day. Remember: how well they perform on Friday night is a direct reflection on how good a coach you are!

I heard Jenni Catron, a Leadership Coaching expert, speak at our church’s Leadership Summit last night. She asked the audience what our definition of leadership is. I’m not going to tell you what she said; but, rather, ask you to define (in your mind) what leadership is! She did make the point when she asked another question! She asked, “Do you have a passion about leading… about influencing others?!” (That should help you with defining what leadership is!)

A friend shared with me what he felt were the qualities of an effective leader. One of his points was basically the same thing that Ms. Catron presented. An effective leader has “searched and discovered his (or her) authentic self.” If you don’t know what your strengths and weaknesses are as a leader, you need to do some research and get them clearly defined.

Finally, I would ask you: Who leads you? You may not want to admit it but we are all under authority to someone. If fact, it’s been shown that we operate most effectively when someone puts some “boundaries” on us. A friend of mine who’s a nationally-known motivational speaker, Jerry Gaines, talks about having “guard rails” installed when we’re driving across (around here!) the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. If you haven’t had the pleasure of taking that drive, come visit us in Tidewater Virginia. It’s… wellllllllll, exciting!!! Without guard rails on the Chesapeake Bay bridge, you better be extra careful! Those guard rails; ie, being under authority to another actually gives us freedom! Most would say it confines us; but, think of those guard rails and how you’d feel driving 12 miles from either shoreline out in the middle of the Bay!!!

Yes, we all have an Athletics Director and a Principal who we answer to. For me, though, my ultimate authority is the Person of Jesus Christ. He is the perfect example of what a great leader looks like. Check Him out when you’re doing your reading on great leaders!

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