I recently wrote about John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success and 12 lessons on leadership based on his insights shared in his book, Wooden on Leadership. Your response was overwhelming!
For those of you who don’t know who John Wooden is, he’s a record-breaking basketball coach who led UCLA to perfect season, 10 NCAA championships and 88 straight wins! If you aren’t a sports fan . . . just know he’s a bad ass.
Even with all of the accolades for his wins, he’s most well-known for his beliefs in teamwork and leadership. He coached his players to be great men, contributors, fathers, citizens, etc… If you haven’t read Wooden on Leadership yet, I highly recommend you move it up your reading list.
In his book, he talks about suggestions to lead by and rules to lead by. Today, I’m gonna cover some of the rules to live by. I encourage you to incorporate these into your personal leadership development plan! As you go through these, you’ll get the sense that he’s a no nonsense leader who hates excuses . . . like many other successful leaders.
9 Rules to Lead By for Your Leadership Development Plan
1. It’s Tough to Coach Character – If they don’t have it, you can’t give it to them. You may have team members who are talented in so many other areas, but if they are lacking character, move on. Life’s too short.
2. The Star of the Team IS the Team – Team comes first, not individuals. As a leader, you must be consistent in delivering your team first message. Top leaders must understand they are only as successful as their teams and their teams are what make that success possible. Teamwork and leadership go hand in hand. Selfishness? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
3. Go Out of Your Way to praise Those “Quiet” Performers Who Make Things Happen – not everyone craves the limelight and posts his accomplishments all over facebook. Recognize those making it happen and helping the team succeed. They’re great models for others to follow. Head down and getting it done!
4. Teach Your Team to Expect Unexpected Opportunity – Doors open and close all of the time in business! Knowing your industry and which companies are failing, knowing your products and when the offer improves and how to sell it, . . .all represent opportunity. Teaching your team how to recognize it is critical to their success.
5. Believe in the Hidden Potential of All – I’m not saying you should waste your time trying to drag it out of people, but I AM saying that you should foster an environment that rewards hard work, development and improvement – all of which lead to unleashing those hidden talents. Teamwork and leadership, baby!
6. Success Breeds Satisfaction; Satisfaction Breeds Failure – There’s a thinker! A leader MUST set realistic goals, but once they are achieved, don’t sit back on your laurels. You must not become satisfied. Achievement will continue at that level or an even higher level IF and ONLY IF you do not let the infection of success take hold of you and your team…. the symptom of that infection is complacency (hate that word!).
Contentment with what you’ve accomplished or acceptance of the status quo can kill your progress quickly! Celebrate your wins…. but remember that good is the enemy of great. Getting to the top is difficult…. but staying there is harder because that complacency sets in – don’t let it! This is one keeper for that leadership development plan for you and your team!
7. Identify and Remove Excuses for Not Getting to the Next Level – Boom! Dropped the hammer on this one! What are you telling yourself to rationalize where you are in your business right now? You got it in mind? Now tell yourself it’s bullshit and move forward.
8. Stop Saying “No” and Start Asking “How?” – Assume improvement is always possible and force yourself – and others – to figure out how! if you think you have all the answers, you’ve stopped helping your team. You have to keep asking the question “How can I help my team improve?”. Once you’ve asked yourself that a hundred times, ask it again. Constant improvement is a critical component to teamwork and leadership!
9. Welcome Contrary Ideas, but NOT Contrarians – You wanna keep that competitive edge? You must listen to new ideas and perspectives from those on your team. This should be done in a respectful manner where it’s not disruptive to the overall growth and direction of the team.