Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Head Coach as “Leader”

Posted by admin March - 30 - 2010 - Tuesday

I have recently had the pleasure of communicating with Dr. Jim Chambers here in our area. He is the Founder and CEO of the Institute for Organizational Leadership. I would encourage you to check out his home page at his website
for his company.

Just browsing around the home page, there are some excellent “tid bits” for head coaches on Leadership. I have asked his permission to share a few of them; but I haven’t heard back from him yet to see if it’s OK. So… until then, I am publicizing his website so you guys can go check it out.

Be sure to note the names of several books that he recommends on Leadership. Just the synopses of the books were full of great information for me to chew on!

I bring to your attention the color diagram near the bottom of the page. This will be pertinent to any of you who are just taking over a program OR… are installing a new Offense or Defense. The diagram illustrates the components of “leading a change.” Good stuff!

If you are going to be an effective Head Coach, you must be an effective leader! There’s no way around it. People are going to follow your example. That’s why you were hired. You can’t expect others to follow if you do not possess the skills necessary to be a strong leader.

Reading information like what is presented on this I.O.L. website is critical to improving your skills. If you are looking for other sources, I would encourage you to purchase books by John Maxwell— another excellent author on “Leadership.”

I have just re-read a book by Donald T. Phillips entitled Lincoln On Leadership where he provides a lot of insight into the genius that was Abraham Lincoln’s leadership style and skills. In chapter 1, Phillips reveals a cornerstone of Lincoln’s personal leadership philosophy, an approach Phillips says ” would become part of a revolution in modern leadership thinking 100 years later when it was dubbed MBWA (Managing By Wandering Around) by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman in their 1982 book In Search of Excellence.

It’s the process of stepping out and interacting with people… of establishing human contact. A perfect example of this would be: Head Coaches… are you actively involved in your off-season weight program? Are you in that room every day… wandering around; talking to your players; helping to spot him on a lift; changing the plates on the bar; encouraging him when he’s struggling??? Leading is primarily paying attention! A positive outlook and a pleasant dispostion can yield valuable dividends for any leader. That’s not to say that Lincoln didn’t get tough when needed. If you are a student of the Civil War, you know that Lincoln spent about 3 years “looking for his Grant.” For you coach, that would be that one guy who can follow AND lead at the same time! He can take orders from you as the Head Coach but has enough confidence, tenacity and intiative that he can take control of his area of responsibility (for example, the weight room) so you are freed up to “wander around” and interact with your players. Lincoln had to go through almost a dozen generals before he found his Grant. He didn’t do this capriciously or with malice; he did it by getting out on the battlefield and “wandering around”— watching his generals in action. You would be wise to do the same thing!

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