Monday, January 07, 2008

Leading By Example

I wrote last time about a coach who is a great role model--someone who really leads by example, Jim Tressel. Another coach who was also very successful and also led his team by example was John Wooden, the great basketball coach from UCLA. He is perhaps the most successful coach ever and one of the reasons was the way he led.

Here are some words of wisdom from his book, Coach Wooden One on One:

I began smoking during World War II. I'd quit during basketball season—stopping on my birthday in October and starting again when the season ended. I never smoked in front of the boys. I finally quit to improve my example. I was convicted. I couldn't expect my players not to do what I was doing.

A leader's most powerful ally is his own example. There's hypocrisy to the phrase "Do as I say, not as I do." I refused to make demands on my boys that I wasn't willing to live out in my own life. Hypocrisy undermines respect, and if people don't respect you, they won't willingly follow you. One of my players complimented me greatly when he said, "Coach, you walked the talk."

Do you walk the talk?

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