Leadership Lessons From My 16 Year Old
I spent week before last in Orlando while my both my daughters played in the National Volleyball tournament. The first half of the week I spent watching my younger daughter play and took away some great leadership lessons from their games. As I spent the second half of the week watching my older daughter play in the tournament, I was struck by a few more leadership lessons. My oldest has truly come into her own as the leader of her team and watching some of her habits and skills was a very proud moment. Here are 3 of those lessons I took away from watching my daughter.
1. Keep your team focused on doing their individual job.
As the motto from the New England Patriots dynasty goes: Do YOUR Job. Watching my daughter get eye to eye with teammates and remind them what they needed to do on the next play was true leadership. The girls took in the information, nodded their heads and usually came through. If everyone in your company did their job at 100%, how easy would achieving the results you want be? So what stands in the way? Normally it is all about distractions or even more so, a lack of clear direction on exactly what the job is.
It can be easier to become focused more on what other people are supposed to be doing, rather than focusing on our own job. Especially, if perhaps we’re experiencing our own challenges, it’s always easier to point the finger or take someone else’s inventory, vs. our own. If you’re in leadership, help your team by understanding what their job is on the next “play”. Where do you need them to focus their attention on the next project? What other team members will be watching other areas? After you show them where to focus, the next step is to show them the path to success.
2. Set short term goals.
As my daughter encouraged her team and helped them see their jobs, she also made sure they didn’t look too far ahead of the next goal. Don’t focus on winning the game. Focus on winning this point. If we win each point, we could win the game. Here’s some examples:
What do we need to do right now to win the next challenge?
In order for our project to be a success, what small things need to happen along the way?
Is it getting a financial plan built for a new division?
Is it getting funding arranged for a new project?
How about assuring we have access to manpower for the busy season?
All of these are a point or two in the game that can win it or lose it. Make sure your team knows what they need to achieve, or a loss is imminent. And if they fail, show them how to move on quickly and get back on the court.
3. Have a short memory.
In volleyball, a shutout is not going to happen very often, if at all. The other team is almost always going to get at least a few points, so each team is usually going to have to deal with some adversity. The mantra of “let it go” and “move on” were something my daughter reminded her team of consistently. You have another opportunity to do your job right here in the next few seconds. If you continue to dwell on where you went wrong, generally, more wrong will follow. If you think about what you need to change and get moving, things will usually go well. That is why a short memory for the losses can come in handy. A team that focuses on the mistakes and errors never escapes them. A quick analysis of what, why, how and who, with a plan of eliminating the issue in the future will normally lead to a much more positive outcome.
It’s amazing what we can learn from our kids if we just slow down and watch what they are doing. I am extremely proud of both my daughters accomplishments as well as excited to see what the future holds for them.