Tough and tender Tay…

Your team needs a kick in the ass and your team needs someone who gets them.

Last night, over another great Sunday supper, our son, Taylor, told Miss and me about his recent learning from coaching high school soccer. He was running Friday practice with a talented team working on a simple, not easy, drill to build passing skills. He had broken the team into smaller teams of five. As he watched them perform, he was sickened by what he saw (God, I loved hearing this)!

So, he called a huddle. He asked the team what they thought of their performance. To a man, they thought it was pretty good. He corrected them. He told them it was awful, sloppy, and lazy. He showed them what it looked like to do it properly. He modeled the way, again. He spelled out why this matters and tied it to their lack of support for each other in their games. He kicked their ass because he cared. Sitting next to him at the Kitchen Island, it was hard for me to conceal my pure joy as I listened to him recall his coaching. He continued without hardly taking a breath…

When the four teams of five went back to practice after Tay’s rant, the change was dramatic. “A thousand times better,” Tay exclaimed. Tay compared their execution to his Crew Academy level – night and day difference. He was so stoked sharing and I was so lit listening! He walked out with three books he had me order on Amazon – Two on coaching high level soccer and Talent is Over- rated. He is falling in love with learning how to make others do what they can. He is learning about leadership as he’s leading. Funny how much you learn when you force yourself to do something outside your current level of capacity.

So, leader, your job is to raise the level of your teams performance. Your job is to make them do what they can and keep them reaching for more. Your job is simple, not easy. Sometimes your team needs you to listen, understand, and sit with them hearing them out and hugging ‘em up. Sometimes you need to empathize to empower – to get them to see their own power. And, sometimes, you need to call a huddle and kick their individual and collective ass. Sometimes you gotta challenge them to do more than they think they can. Sometimes you exhort and go all Bill Self on ‘em.

Tough and tender, remember. Tough and tender. Good work, Tay, you are becoming a tough and tender leader. Tough and tender Tay, remember this old mans mantra – Keep working. Good…

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