Recently we held a Captains and Coaches practice and walked through the way to communicate with elite athletes. Tougher questions produce tougher competitors. The practice started with one of the leaders recalling some words coming out of a teammates mouth that didn’t sit well with him. I let him explain himself for a few minutes and then I interrupted him with a simple question. I asked him if he what he was telling us he had already told his teammate.
He had not.
Lesson number one. Do not wait to talk to teammates that are underperforming. Wine ages well; feedback does not. Do not tell others what you haven’t yet told the one who you’re talking about. This is gossip.
Truth in love is best started with a simple question. Here it is. Do not miss it. Ask this before speaking truth. “Would you like my help?” If yes, you ask them what they were thinking when they said or did such and such. You ask it from a curious head and warm heart. You listen intently and ask more questions until it’s clear that you either misunderstood them or that they need to hear some truth to set them straight. If they listen and learn, you’ve just coached them up. If they don’t, they will live and learn or live and not learn. Your job is not to give up on them, at least not at first.
Your job is to to call bullshit if they repeat a pattern of live and not learn. The worst kinda teammate is the bullshit artist who continues to repeat unproductive behaviors. This teammate needs tough love and tough consequences. These teammates rarely are self healing systems. They can be turned by tough leaders who are curious, challenging, and courageous enough to kick their butt and suffer whatever short term pain for the long term gain. High performance cultures require tough/tender Captains and Coaches. Make sense?
Remember, it sucks to lead. Leaders have to model the way, embrace pain and suffering (more), and embody truth in Love. God, help us all.