BTL leaders understand trust is the glue of real community and purposely put their team in tiring, trust building practices. This is not some kinda ropes course, team building bullshit we’ve become so enamored with either. I’m talking about practice where teammates bathe in hard truth, difficult conversations, and come together because a leader isn’t afraid to provide them with a common enemy…

The Kansas Jayhawks, under Bill Self, have become an example of this kinda tough team. According to Coach Self, this toughness is built through purposeful practice. “When our players have reached a point of exhaustion or deficit, I put them in tough situations where they have to band together and buy into a common goal. They have to trust and believe at these points, and they really have to concentrate to be able to make winning plays and decisions. We drill it.” He continues, “Players need to be put through it almost every day. How can we expect players to care or believe unless they have gone through tough times together? As coaches, we have to put them through those tough times so they will know what to do when they get there.”

They get tired together. They build toughness together.

Yesterday, Miss, Krits, Josh, and I watched a tough team pull through for another ugly win. This team is 9-0 but doesn’t look like it. They are missing their beast in the middle (injury), have a starter that is MIA, have another starter that can’t throw it in the ocean, have another one that is ineligible, and are winning with basically two players carrying the offensive load. However, watching them up close, I was most impressed with Marcus Garrett, who scored but one point. He was the epitome of toughness. He guarded Nova’s biggest scoring threat and held him down, corralled four rebounds, and picked up four, crucial steals. He was tough. He’s learned his role and is playing it to the point of exhaustion (37 tough minutes). He’s becoming a glue guy. Every team needs glue to stick together, doesn’t it?

Want a tougher team? Lead practice after practice after practice with your team and get them tired together. They’ll come together. Oftentimes when you least expect it, community will come. The problem is this kinda discipline doesn’t have an instant reward or return on your investment. This kinda trust takes time and discipline. Few leaders have the patience to lead these kinda practices. Fear stops them short. You see, most are too afraid to push their prima donna’s to the point of exhaustion and panic. Community, most often, comes through a camaraderie of suffering. Study history, you’ll see. BTL practice builds bonds between all kinda brothers/sisters. We’re oftentimes surprised when the glue guy/gal emerges. And, not unlike Coach Self, we aren’t afraid to build bonds through providing our teams with a common enemy either. Are you?

Want a better team? Become a better leader. Get your team tired and tougher through the comradarie of suffering. Find your glue gal/guy and celebrate their contribution as much as you celebrate your top producers. Community will come. Good…

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