Written By Charity Butler
A talented and capable team is struggling on the field. They cannot seem to work together or make consistent, positive progress. After another disappointing loss, Coach delivers a rousing post-game speech blaming a “lack of leadership.” Out of frustration, Coach blasts the players for not taking ownership of the team.
The bus ride home is completely silent. The players dare not speak for fear of becoming the recipient of Coach’s wrath. Meanwhile, Coach is boiling, upset that no player cares enough to begin a post-game debrief among the other athletes about the night’s challenges on the field.
We have all participated in team dynamics like this. It is common to contribute difficulties on the field to an absence of leadership.
Can leadership really be missing?
Scientists and Astronomers tell us that Earth spins over 1,000 miles per hour continuously. Although we feel as if we are sitting in one place, in reality we are moving at incomprehensible speeds. Might it be possible that we, too, are never actually stationary in life?
Let’s apply this to the team setting. Our teams are full of ever-moving statistics. One athlete may begin the season struggling at the plate but eventually starts to see pitches better, slowly improving her batting average. Perhaps there is a pitcher on that team who dominated last season. This season, however, distractions off-the-field have her attention resulting in mediocre performance. Our teams are never truly idle because they are made up of ever-moving members.
Try for a minute to imagine a term or phrase including the word lead that has no implication of movement. The front dog on a sled team may be referred to as the lead dog. The lead leg for a hurdler is the forward leg when clearing the hurdle. A rock band may have several guitars playing at once but the one playing the main tune of the song is considered the lead guitar.
Lead in all of these very different contexts communicates a going before, making a path for another to follow. Our teams of ever-moving members are also full of leaders.
The question is not, “Why do we not have leaders on our team?”, but “In what direction are our leaders moving?”
Seems a bit far-fetched? Think about it this way, leadership is simply influence. By formal definition, influence is, “the capacity or power of a person to be a compelling force on others”.
How do we develop leaders who produce a positive, compelling force on others? We become strong leaders ourselves! Regardless of our personality types, or character strengths, we all have the opportunity and the ability to influence others. We do it every day. In which direction are we forcefully compelling ourselves and those around us?
In his Best Selling book, The 5 Levels of Leadership, John Maxwell challenges, “If you want to make an impact, start with yourself… Good leaders are always good learners… leadership is much less about what you do, and much more about who you are.”
Occasionally, I provide practical tips and advice from my book Prep Steps™: 31 day guide to success for female Student-Athletes that help coaches and players develop the skills and habits of successful, forward-moving leaders.
From Day 21 of Prep Steps™, we will take a brief look at Delayed Gratification.
To lead effectively, we must believe in and practice delayed gratification: “the ability to wait in order to obtain something that one wants.”
If we want to achieve and exceed our goals, we must be willing to work hard over an extended period of time. Advancing leaders are willing to push themselves onward and upward. They become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Learning to relinquish the comfort of the good makes room for the awe-inspiring great!
Advancing, forward-moving, leaders establish small, consistent habits that over time generate huge results. They are willing to follow Peak Performance Coach, Brian Cain’s advice to, “do a little a lot instead of a lot a little.”
Today’s small choices matter! Cain also says that our softball seasons, playing careers and lives are made up of TODAY + TODAY + TODAY + TODAY. Today matters!
Work consistently; stay patient with yourself and with the outcome. Be confident that “in all labor, there is profit.” Your hard (and smart) work will pay huge dividends, but you must invest your time, talent, and focus now. Be willing to work today like others will not, so you can do tomorrow what others cannot.
What, if anything are you doing to improve each day? What daily habits could you change to improve your confidence and your athletic performance?
Are you advancing or regressing, moving forward or backward? Where are your choices leading you and those around you? You can choose your direction TODAY!
About Prep Steps™:
More leadership and preparation tips can be found in Prep Steps™ 31 day guide to success for female Student-Athletes. Prep Steps™ is a one-of-a-kind preparation guide created for female student-athletes of all sports. This tool is not a book girls read, but a book they do… in only 15 minutes each day! Prep Steps™ equips individual girls and entire teams to exceed even their own expectations in school, sports and life. Order your copy at Exceed-Sports.com.
Charity Butler is respected nationally & internationally as a pro athlete, writer, speaker, collegiate coach, hitting instructor and Certified Intrinsic Life Coach®.
Charity, a Two-Time ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American, played Division I softball at the University of Southern Mississippi. Upon graduation, she launched a professional softball career that has taken her across the U.S. and literally around the world.
Currently, as a Pro Speaker for Sports World, Inc, Charity travels the country speaking to more than 40,000 people annually. As a recognized expert in confidence training, she also presents at various conferences, colleges & universities.
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