The Paradoxical Leader – Be In The Present, But Look To The Future

Much like the Charles Dickens character Ebenezer Scrooge, leaders also have to deal with ghosts. The leader’s ghosts are of things present and things yet to come…and how to link the two. Don’t worry though, these ghosts are like Casper and quite friendly. As a matter of fact, for any coach to be successful, they’ve got to learn to manage the ghosts of Present and Future…but also the Transition ghost-who happens to be particularly important. Of course you know that these aren’t really ghosts, but phases that teams go through, and the effective leader will be there to guide their team through it all. A successful coach and leader will be able to manage their team’s current reality while simultaneously pushing them forward to reach some future goal. Here are the…

3 Essential Phases Every Leader Must Guide Their Team Through

Present: Appreciate Current Talent

All coaches face this dichotomy of existence…how to motivate and develop one’s current team while going out and recruiting “the next best thing”. The most important thing we can do as coaches is to make sure that our current teams feel the love and that they don’t think you’ve got one eye on the newbie who’s going to replace her the following year. The bonus of this strategy is that your team will become the world’s best recruiters for you because they’ve enjoyed their experience in your program so much.

Transition: Leading From Present To Future

Being an effective leader means that you have to see your team as two entities: who they are and who they want to be and equip them with the tools they need to get from one place to another. The ways in which the coach accomplishes this can take many forms: soothsayer to calm rattled nerves, cattle-prodder to spur action, or even spiritual guide to induce the faith necessary to dream big and then work to accomplish those dreams. The coach has to become all things to all people, because what works for one won’t work for another and worked yesterday may not work today.

Future: Accomplishing Goals

At its essence, a sports season means uncertainty. There could be injuries, unexpected losses, all sorts of unforeseen things. Therefore the motivational efforts of a coach have to have an element of faith to them. We have to sell our teams on the fact that a + b = c, and if they do “a + b” like crazy people that “c” will come to them in the future. And “c” is where uncertainty comes in, because it’s possible that your team can do “a + b” like crazy and still won’t accomplish “c”…but it’s the coach’s job to encourage the effort. Teams may not reach their goal no matter how hard they try…but they certainly won’t reach them if they don’t try at all.

I believe that teaching how to enjoy the moment while continuously pushing for some future goal is the role of every coach and leader…what do you think?

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