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Playing The Leadership Game, Part 1: The Players
By Jack Donohue   Printer Friendly Version

Every game (or sport) has rules, requirements, and strategies that govern the game. The championship teams and outstanding players know how to fill the requirements and use the rules and strategies to help them play the game very well.

Let's start with the requirements. Leadership implies some type of a team … could be a business ... a sport … a family!! The requirements for this team are players, leaders, direction, and relationships. The players are the most important ingredient. Do you have outstanding players on your team, office staff, family? If so, we can move on. But if you don't have outstanding people, what can you do?? Well, you can do the same as a professional sports team does. You can buy them … or train them.

In most cases training is the less expensive option. However, it does take time. Are you willing to train your people to bring them up to the expected necessary level? It's not easy and requires commitment. Then there are decisions - Can we do this in-house or do we have to go outside? Many of the contributors to "Words of Mouth" can help you develop your people. Of course, many times we don't have a choice about replacing (buying) or training - family businesses, long-term relationships, partial ownership, and unions are all factors in the decision process.

Well, train or buy … we still have to realize what type of people we want? There are many lists of attributes that successful people must have - we can list a few which would help us.

They Know The Rules! The rules to the game - YOUR game, YOUR business! Maybe it's numbers or sales skills or dealing with customers on the floor, but whatever is important in their part of your business, they know the rules!

They Work Hard! They don't talk about it, nor do they even notice it because they realize that hard work is essential in every endeavour. It's not an add-on, nor a negotiating point; it's built into every job.

They Respect The Boss (Or Coach)! They don't fall into the mode indicated by "The Boss is Always Right" - they don't make an evaluation because it isn't necessary. They understand that "The Boss is Always The Boss." We are talking about a relationship, not an evaluation. If you are the boss, you will be treated in a certain manner. If you don't care about the relationship, then there are no rules.

They Concentrate On The Process! After they understand where they are going (the goals of the organization).

They Feel Good About Themselves! They enjoy themselves in what they are doing. Sure they have doubts, as we all do, but on the whole they feel good about themselves, how they are doing, and how management (the coach?? a parent??) feels about them and what they are doing. We, as coaches, have often heard that it doesn't matter what athletes (workers) are doing on "their" time as long as they are productive when they are with us … WHAT BUNK!! If people have major problems away from the job, how can we expect them to produce and concentrate when on the job? When I was a university coach, it was clear that if a player could not give me the two-hour practice time with close to 100% concentration, we were just spinning our wheels. Can a young man or woman take care of sport if they had a major economic, academic or family problem - I think not! Now, what can we do about it? That depends on the situation.

Let's review some of the attributes of successful team people:

· They know the rules.
· They work hard.
· They respect the boss.
· With goal in mind, they concentrate on the process.
· They feel good about themselves.

We can get to other attributes next time, but why not start developing these … in our players … and in ourselves.

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