Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Qualities of an Effective Leader

Posted by admin June - 12 - 2019 - Wednesday

I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership recently. Several coaches have posed questions, and opinions, about what they think an effective leader is like. Some of them I agree with, others…. not so much! Sooooooo… I decided to formulate my own ideas about what qualities an effective leader should possess. I’ll cover them one at a time over the next few weeks.

First… a note: If you haven’t noticed, I have not used the term “great” leader. I prefer to use the term effective. That, to me, expresses more about what a leader should know and do. He knows his job and he does it well. He/she is effective in accomplishing the goal of the particular group/organization/team that the leader leads.

1st Quality: An effective leader is an effective communicator. He/she knows how to get his point across. He accomplishes this using good grammar and enunciation. He knows how to effectively use non-verbal cues (we call it body language) to convey the message he’s trying to share. Such things as eye contact, hand gestures, posture, tone of voice and using voice volume are all important. If you don’t know how to incorporate these things when talking with your team, you need to learn. They are important.

I will never forget asking a former coach (who was pretty successful) to come in and speak to our team before a big game. I knew him to be a pretty passionate fellow. Welllllll… 20 minutes later when everybody in the room (players and coaches) was asleep, I found a moment to start clapping for him— though I don’t think he was finished!– so that everyone else would join in and we could get him out of the room. It was B-A-D… and sad! Kids were laughing about it for days.

Which leads me to the other key point in communicating: Be prepared. Know how much time you’ve got and plan on shaving off 10-12 minutes from that time! I’ve learned over the years that you can say all you need to say in about 10 minutes. Did you know that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address lasted about 3 minutes??!!! Pretty impressive message for such a short speech. So, know what you’re going to say and practice with a timer.

Then, finally…. know how to FINISH!! I have seen soooooo many public speakers who had no closing! They would reach their last point and then… ramble on… and on… and on! They didn’t plan to or know how to close! I like it when speakers say something to the effect, “and my last point is…” or, “to summarize….” It sparks some energy in the audience because they know it’s coming to a close. And, it gets their attention.

So, in closing!!!— an effective leader is an effective communicator! This skill can be learned but it takes practice. Search out videos or books on the subject. You will be amazed at how much more your team/organization will respond to you when you can communicate your message succinctly, passionately and clearly.

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