How to Be a “Winning” Leader

March 30, 2016
  • Bob Chapman
  • Bob Chapman
    CEO & Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller

This weekend brings the NCAA Final Four round in college basketball. March Madness is just about over.

Though some players may go on to a professional career, this is the last chance for some of the seniors on the team to feel the rush of the crowd and compete at this level on national television.

What thoughts are going through their minds at such a momentous time in their young lives?

I recently came across a moving video of a senior night speech by Marcus Paige, a player on the University of North Carolina team. During the speech, Marcus addresses his coach, Roy Williams. He says that Coach Williams always believed in him and that helped him grow as a person.

And here is the key statement Marcus made to the crowd with Coach Roy Williams sitting on the bench:

“I tried to be every bit the player you wanted me to be but you made me a better man and that is the most important thing and I am 10 times a better man than when I got here.”

Is playing sports in little league or high school or college about winning the game–or is it more about shaping lives and learning to play as a team? As the old saying goes, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”

Couldn’t we apply this equally to our leadership in business?

When someone joins our “team,” we ask them to partner with us in pursuit of our shared vision. True leaders set measurable goals to allow that person to relate their contribution to the realization of the vision. True leaders recognize and celebrate the contributions of team members. They coach and mentor them in certain areas and empower them in others. True leaders believe in team members even when that person doesn’t have confidence in their own potential.

And when we inspire team members to achieve, they will “win” in so many ways.

When we create a fulfilling experience for those in our care – when we focus on making sure our team members feel empowered, validated, cared for and integral to our shared vision – they return home each day better spouses, parents, friends, neighbors, citizens of the world.

As we move from being managers, bosses and supervisors to being coaches, mentors and leaders, I hope each of us have moments like Coach Roy Williams. Imagine a retirement gathering for one of our 11,000 team members and their reflection of their experience is that the leadership they experienced helped make them a better person.

This is PRICELESS and the goal of Truly Human Leadership.


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