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LEADERSHIP IS A PROCESS OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE, WHICH MAXIMISES THE EFFORTS OF OTHERS TOWARDS THE ACHIEVEMENT OF A SHARED GOAL.
Sunday, June 06, 2010
As a tribute to John Wooden's amazing legacy of leadership, here are some of Coach Wooden's thoughts on leadership:.
LEADERS MUST CONTINUOUSLY LEARN
I believe leadership itself is largely learned. Certainly not everyone can lead nor is every leader destined for glory, but most of us have a potential far beyond what we think possible.
Those who aspire to be leaders can do it; those who wish to become much better leaders can also do it. I know, because this has been true in my own life. Whatever coaching and leadership skills I possess were learned through listening, observation, study, and then trial and error along the way.
In my opinion, this is how most leaders improve and progress. For me, the process of learning leadership continued for 40 years until the day I walked off the court for the last time as head coach - March 31, 1975 - following UCLA's tenth national championship. In truth, my learning continued even after that. (Pages 4-5)
PARENTING IS THE BEST MODEL OF LEADERSHIP
At some point, later than I'd care to admit, it became clear to me that the most productive model for good leadership is a good parent. A coach, teacher, and leader, in my view, are all basic variations of being a parent. And while parenting is the most important job in the world, leadership isn't far behind. I revere the opportunity and obligation it confers, namely, the power to change lives and make a difference. For me, leadership is a sacred trust.
A leader in sports, business, or any other field of endeavour should possess and provide the same qualities inherent in a good parent: character, consistency, dependability, accountability, knowledge, good judgment, selflessness, respect, courage, discipline, fairness, and structure.
And while all these will make you a good leader, they will not make you a great leader. For that one additional quality - perhaps the most important of all - is necessary. Although it may sound out of place in the rough-and-tumble context of sports or corporate competition, I believe you must have love in your heart for the people under your leadership. I did. (80)
LEADERS DEMAND ATTENTION TO DETAILS
There was no single big thing that made our UCLA basketball teams effective, not the press or the fast break, not size, not condition - no single big thing. Instead, it was hundreds of small things done the right way, and done consistently.
A leader must identify each of the many details that are most pivotal to team success and then establish, and teach, a high standard of behaviour or performance in executing those details. How you - the leader - define "average" is how your team will define it. Some leaders define average as average; some define average as being significantly above average.
It is easy to be lazy when it comes to details. Laziness is a euphemism for sloppiness, and sloppiness precludes any organisation from achieving competitive greatness and success. Your ability as leader to set and achieve high standards in the domain or details - to insist that average will be well above average - is one of the accurate predictors of how effective you will be as a leader, and how productive those under your supervision will be as a team.
Once you recognise the connection between sweat socks and success, you have acquired one of the most valuable assets for effective leadership, namely, that little things, done well, make big things happen for you and your organisation. (147)
LEADERSHIP IS GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR AVAILABLE TALENT
You need talent on your team to prevail in the competitive arena. However, many leaders don't know how to win even when they have great talent in their organisation. Furthermore, leaders are frequently forced to compete when the talent matchup isn't in their favour. What do you do then?
While a book can't replace talent, it can provide productive insights on how to get the most out of the talent you have available. And this, in my opinion, is the first goal of leadership - namely, getting the very best out of the people in your organisation, whether they have talent to spare or are spare on talent.
Your ability to bring forth - maximize - the potential and abilities of those under your leadership marks you as a great competitor and leader. Some years, the teams I taught were blessed with significant talent. Other years, this was not the case. But in all years - with all levels of talent - my goal was the same, namely, to get the most out of what we had. (289-290)