Leadership Impact – Why Your ‘How’ Matters – Part 1

A Tale of Two Leaders – Coach and CEO

It was the second game of the regular season as the warm Colorado summer rolled into early September.  My dad was visiting for a week. Watching our kids’ sports activities were some of the ‘Day in the Life’ of our family experiences that he naturally signed up for.

Minutes after unfolding our chairs under the port-a-shade, another dad, an imposing 6’5″ and looking as though he may have played linebacker himself, began shouting at our special teams unit lined up for kickoff. “HIT somebody! HIT somebody!” he urged, as though the force of his voice alone might cause a fumble. Coaches stomped up and down the sideline, shouting their own instructions at players. Welcome to 12-and-under youth football.

Football Leadership Impact on Team Performance

My son, #2, playing outside linebacker.
Photo Credit: Angel Kelchen

Within a few minutes we saw my son’s team go down by a touchdown. Before the end of the first quarter, a two-score deficit separated our team from a seemingly superior team.

What happened next was utterly shocking.

As our defense ran off the field, one of the coaches, a big, intimidating and loud man, stormed onto the field. With great intensity, he lit into several players, belittling them with profanity.

Did I mention these kids were 12?

The coach received some feedback and cleaned up his vocabulary, though his approach remained consistent throughout the course of the season. Overall, he coached by fear and intimidation with an occasional sprinkling of affirmation.

What are the implications of ‘leading’ a team of 12-year-old players in such an intimidating manner?

Your Leadership Impact ‘How’ Matters

During the second game of the season that coach lost the hearts of some of his players. Within a couple of weeks, I would learn from a boy we drove to practice in the carpool, that this coach continued to demotivate him in practices. This boy also lacked a father figure at home and soon quit the team. For this kid, any potentially positive leadership impact that the coach might have had on him was squandered.

What if this coach had understood his mission to be training boys to be young men and to impart the value of fun, team, discipline, athletic skills and healthy competition?

What if he had decided to be a mentor to these lads?

What if he had owned his leadership impact?

What positive difference might he have made?

On a scale of 1-10, to what extent do you own your leadership impact?

In Part 2 of this series we look at the contrasting real-life example of a CEO and examine some lessons learned from both coach and CEO.

I invite you to join the conversation.