Developing Bucket List Leadership

August 29th, 2012

So, if you haven’t heard already, I am coaching Varsity soccer at Elkton High School.  The joke is that I probably have told you. I’ve told anyone and everyone that will listen…and be wary when asking me a question about business! (I will turn it into a soccer metaphor in a hurry.)  Why all the soccer talk these days? Well, coaching soccer is a Bucket List moment for me.  It’s something on my List that I’ve been wanting to achieve for a long time.

Coach Varsity soccer.  Check! 

Elkton High School Varsity Soccer 2012

Everyone should have a Bucket List of things they hope to achieve some day.  These things do not happen on any given day, you know. I find I may check off one moment per year at best.  And this particular one gives me a chance to use what I have applied and learned about leadership in my attempt at mastery of the subject.  Running a company?  Being Leader of a not-for-profit?  Running two companies?  Being head coach of a soccer team?  It is all the same. It all requires leadership.

So here is my Bucket List Leadership for today:

  • Players, employees, and volunteers respond well to cultural values.  Not rules.  Give a group values and it inspires and empowers.  Give them a rule book?  They will show you how to break them.  Trust comes from values.
  • Expect a lot.  Good coaches know how to get more from a player than they do on their own.  Believe in your people, support them, teach them, give them a great environment, and they will thrive.
  • Feedback really matters.  But don’t be vague.  “Good job” leaves people lost.  As I told my team, I can be tough on you but fair every day. Demand greatness and you can be the best we can be; or you can be content and happy everyday with no real challenge until we get beaten badly on game day.
  • Change is hard whether you are 14 or 44.  I changed forty years of tradition at Elkton High School this year.  It seems that freshman have carried water forever.  This was the “initiation” of sorts.  Do your time rookie!  No more.  Today we will all carry water led by upper classmen.  We are all leaders and teachers.  Modeling the right behavior is important for any leader from pitch to boardroom.
  • Half-Full matters to me.  I will not live with negativity.  I don’t want to hear it.  Don’t get me wrong – I can handle something that is wrong, broken, or that needs discussion.  But I will not tolerate anyone that is half-empty in my complicated world of leadership.  My list is too long, and time too short to be around it.  In fact, our value on the team is Hear no negative, Speak no negative.  And it works.  The boys correct themselves and each other.  They get it.  It wastes time and energy.

2 Responses to “Developing Bucket List Leadership”

  1. CBI Group President Chris Burkhard featured in Cecil Whig | The CBI Group Says:

    [...] Chris recently wrote a blog about his personal investment in coaching the soccer team, and how he applies his years of leadership experience both on the field and in the office. Check it out here! [...]

  2. win on qubids Says:

    I definitely loved this brilliant article. Please continue this awesome work.

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