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29 years coaching experience/ 7 years as a varsity boys' basketball coach, now assisting

Monday, March 11, 2013

Leading with the Heart


One of the greatest books I have read on leadership was the book Lead...for God's Sake by Todd Gongwer.  That's a book I wrote a review for and had published here in the News and Tribune a few months ago.  For those of you who haven't gone out and bought it or read it, I will explain the basis of leadership in that book.  There is still a great story that goes along with this, so if you haven't picked it up, still do it.  But this is somewhat of a disclaimer...I am giving the secrets of author Todd Gongwer's success in the next few paragraphs.

To be a great leader, you must reflect, recognize and keep changing and improving.  It is the "why?" question about your job and life.  Why do you do what you do?  But before you can answer that, you must answer why you exist in the first place.  Why do you exist?  What are your strenghs?  Finally, why do you do what you do?  What are the reasons you coach or lead outside of sports?  Is it to win championships, to have greater self-glory?  Is it to help others?  What are your priorities in your personal life and in your work life?

Once you have begun to understand those questions (which the next paragraph explains how that comes into focus), you will then understand better how to lead others.  Most people are influenced by negative and positive consequences when it comes to being led.  In the book, Gongwer calls it the hatchet and the treasure; the hatchet being negative and treasure being positive.  Many people are motivated by one and/or the other and it is okay to use these to motivate, but in using these things what is the purpose?

Leadership is equal to your influence plus your responsibility.  But to be the best you can be, you must understand your purpose which comes from your heart.  How do you find that purpose, how do you know what is in your heart?  According to Gongwer, you must use prayer (I used to think prayer was overrated, I now understand how much it can change you), you must embrace your position (usually  not a problem for leaders, but must do so for right reasons), you must love people, you must set your priorities (in all things in life), and then live passionately which will occur because of your new found knowledge of your purpose.  Once you have understood your purpose, you will develop a will to lead for the right reasons, you will understand that love is an important part of leadership, yes, I just wrote "love" for being an effective leader, which will then create a passion in you to do what you do.

If you get your heart "right" in understanding your purpose most everything else will fall into place.  Does that mean you will win championships each year?  No.  Does it mean you will enjoy success each season on the court?  No.  What it guarantess is that you will become the type of leader that creates an atmosphere in which individuals can be as good as they can be.  That may be winning regional or semi state, or it might be losing every game, but learning life lessons with you as a guide in helping.  Getting your heart right can not only affect so many people in positive ways, it ultimately helps you to live the life you are called to live.

Ultimately, if you win, but you are alone, you are not a success as a leader.  If you win, but are angry or not happy much of the time, you are not a success as a leader.  If you have former players or workers asking you to weddings and to baptisms, you are a success as a leader.  If you have a healthy family at home while leading, you are a successful leader.  If you are respected, feared (as a parent is feared by a child), or seen as a positive leader by many, you are a successful leader.  Now, I realize that not everyone will agree with my or Gongwer's assessments on leadership, and that is for you to recognize on your own.  You will have to reflect on what we have written about and decide if it meets up with what you are doing, but you will reflect on what you are doing.  And Doing that is a step in the right direction.