Leadership Doesn’t Have a Title
A few weeks back GMS Staff Member Tom Melton wrote this in the Volleyball Toolbox forum. I thought I’d share it here as well. Enjoy!
Since yesterday was 9/11, there were many wonderful tributes posted on Facebook. For some reason, this post resonated with me and made me think about leadership. This is from the following FB page: https://www.facebook.com/proactivecoach
Some heroes you know personally some you only read about… Some of the heroes of 9.11…
Early on flight 93 terrorists took over the cockpit and passengers were moved to the back of the plane. People making phone calls to loved ones learned that two other planes had already been crashed into the World Trade Center. It is reported that four of those passengers talked with each other and decided to do what heroes do… take action. The four were all former team sport athletes who must have learned some valuable lessons along the way from parents, coaches and teammates…
Summon your courage… remain in control of your emotions… make a plan… put the team first… step up when you are needed… be a fearless aggressor… sacrifice for others… be accountable… stand by your beliefs
Jeremy Glick – judo, wrestling and soccer – described as tough and still in fighting condition
Mark Bingham – college rugby player – described as fearless
Todd Beamer – a college baseball player – described as a servant-leader
Tom Burnett – a high school QB – described as someone you could always count on – said to his wife “I know we are going to die, but some of us are going to do something about it”
Heroes for sure! Likewise, they were leaders. Leadership doesn’t have a title or a job. It’s a mindset. In an earlier thread, Owen mentioned that St. Mary’s College is running a “no captains-all captains” approach to team leadership! A good friend mine was a Navy Seal. One of the ways that most of these special forces are organized is that rank (titles, officers, enlisted men) becomes a little less meaningful within the specific unit. Each member will have a specialty, but they also have to learn other specialties in case there are problems or they lose a member of the team. These heroes (clearly there were many more on 9/11) embodied these teamwork / leadership concepts. We’re all responsible for each other.
There are great leaders in just about any organization, but I think the best leaders work towards cultivating an environment where others are given the responsibility and the freedom to take ownership of part of the process. Hence they cultivate a “proactive” environment.
In 1983, I went to Marv Dunphy’s volleyball camp. Two things stuck with me: Marv talked to the whole group about the differences between reactive players and proactive players. He also wanted to see how people responded when the situation was less than perfect. Right around the same time, I was getting my driver’s license. My dad used to say to me “drive your own car.” He was speaking metaphorically, of course. I can still hear him say that. He didn’t want me to be a passenger in life.
In many areas of the country, teams have been at it for about a month. At this point of the season, the honeymoon may be over and the daily grind is setting in for coaches and players. Perhaps, it’s a good time to take the pulse of your team. How is your team responding when things are less than perfect? Are some members of your team simply passengers or is every member of the team expected to take some kind of ownership and responsibility?
The heroes of flight 93 were more than just passengers, they were leaders. And, as the article mentioned, they were great at doing these things:
Summon your courage… remain in control of your emotions… make a plan… put the team first… step up when you are needed… be a fearless aggressor… sacrifice for others… be accountable… stand by your beliefs.
Tom Melton – Gold Medal Squared