Coach and Athletic Director

June 2018

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46 J U N E 2 0 1 8 WINNING EDGE motivating your players One of the themes we hear from student-athlete leaders across the country is that they're hesitant to lead because they are unsure if they have permission to do so. This reason may be a copout for some, but there are many who hesitate to lead because they question their legitimacy to do so. This tentativeness to lead is especially evident when it comes to the task of holding teammates accountable to the coach's standards, both on and off the playing fields. The reluctance to lead affects many younger leaders, but it also can be an inhibiting factor for older leaders. When you stick your neck out to lead, you take a risk. You put yourself out there and risk being ignored, criticized, laughed at, ostracized, demoted, defeated and rejected. As a coach, and a leader, you know this all too well. When you step forward to lead, you risk being second-guessed, considered inept and run out of town, especially when you fall short of your goals. Ironically, sometimes you can suffer the same fate when you succeed. However, driven by a strong sense of passion, purpose and persistence, you willingly and eagerly accept the risks associated with leadership because you believe so much in your vision and the value of the potential reward, both for you and your team. To mitigate and overcome these harmful risks, many young leaders understandably want to know they have the blessing and backing of their coaches and teammates to lead their fellow athletes. They want to know that their leadership is sincerely wanted, needed and valued before they're comfortable stepping into a leadership role. Hesitation to lead doesn't only affect captains. I have heard from younger assistant coaches who are sometimes uncertain whether they have their head coach's full permission and license to lead. They are sometimes unsure of their place in the program and, like your captains, lead tentatively so as not to interrupt or interfere, rather than leading to inspire and impact. In essence, they lead not to lose rather than leading to win. Reluctant leaders who lead not to lose: • Demonstrate weak and timid leadership. • Lead only when it's comfortable and convenient. • May see problems brewing without addressing them. • Have a hard time holding teammates accountable. • May not keep you in the loop about issues on the team. • Are afraid to speak up and make their voice heard. • May not have your back when an athlete criticizes coaches. • Fail to address the key issues that could distract, disrupt or destroy your program. Just as you value the full support of your athletic director as you navigate the turbulent and treacherous waters of coaching, so too do your captains and assistants crave and appreciate your complete and public confidence in them as leaders. Athletic directors should consider these ideas not only from the vantage point of your captains and assistant coaches, but also from the vantage point of your head coaches when it comes to lending your support to them. Sometimes your program lacks effective leadership not because you don't have able leaders, but because your By Jeff Janssen, columnist Why some athletes are reluctant to hold teammates accountable, and how coaches can help permission TO LEAD

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