What does the World Cup have to do with leadership?

Fresh off the excitement of the USA Soccer World Cup victory in the semi-final match last week, I am feeling like I need to reach out to all of the leaders in the world.  Well, maybe not in the world, but at least in my blog world. 

There is so much to be learned from the Team and the Coaches!  Just like our teams in the boardroom or the office, we simply must work together to achieve our goals.  There cannot be one star on the team to get us where we need to go long term.  Today we saw 11 stars on the field putting their egos, personal biases, and feelings about any coaching decisions aside.  These 11 amazing athletes use some of the same skills we have mentioned in our blogs and bookDeliberate practice, direct feedback, listening, honesty, trust and teamwork, to name a few.  We should follow their lead and try some of them at work.

As a leader, can you imagine coaching these athletes?  They are the best of the best.  They have been doing this for years.  What could you possibly add to their game?  How do you get them to play as one?  So far it appears that their Coach has the answers to these questions.  A commentator mentioned the other day that the Coach changed the style of play from previous coaches.  That was a daring move, but she has different players than they did years ago.  Once she recognized that, she decided to focus more on skill that purely athleticism.  This would be a change for some of the veteran members of the squad.  How the Coaches presented these changes and helped the players adapt can make a big difference to their ultimate success.  She has carefully chosen her starting line-up and substitutions, prepared the team mentally and physically, and then, most importantly, she lets them play the game.  This is an important leadership lesson that we need to be reminded of sometimes.  Coach your employees, don’t boss them!  Give them the tools they need to succeed and offer them feedback as needed.  Many athletes and employees have said that they would do absolutely anything for their Coach or boss because of how that person has inspired and respected them. 

Would your “team” say that about you?  Our book, Coach to Win the Leadership Game, has a clear, step by step strategy to help you be the coaching leader your team deserves!