For the last 6 years I have coached youth football. It is volunteer and takes a ton of time, but it is great. We are to the age (7th grade) where we are trying to teach our kids that it is “their team”. This means that if they slack off or don’t try it is the team’s duty to get everyone in shape. We are not the barking in your ear types of coaches – atleast most of the time. We want them to be able to work together to learn, have fun, and fulfill the potential that they have. To make it “their team,” leaders need to evolve.

We have stressed that leaders are needed to make the team successful. Leaders are needed in good times and in bad times. When someone does something wrong a leader does not point fingers but rather finds a way to correct it. A leader gets the team motivated and helps the team identify goals and in turn, finds ways to achieve those goals. Sometimes they simply lead by example, and in other cases they need to be more vocal and communicate to the team to fix problems or note accomplishments.

In the first three weeks of practice we have seen some kids really step up. We have seen some of them step up to the point of dragging a teammate across the finish line for conditioning. No joke – we really push these kids. We have seen leaders evolve that lead by action. We have seen the vocal leaders. I think you need all types to be successful. The one thing that we have noticed is that these leaders are not pointing fingers when a play goes wrong, but rather they are asking how to correct it. They are teaching, motivating, and hopefully making a friend in the long run.

This experience of identifying leaders can be translated over to the business world. Think about it – when you have been in a leadership role were you motivating, picking your team up when down, advising, educating, NOT pointing fingers, etc.? If you haven’t, I may have a few kids that could teach you something.