This weekend we officially entered new waters: we are now soccer parents. Fear not, the window sticker is coming. We will be those people, no matter how many times we tell ourselves otherwise. And when Sam scores his first goal, we'll probably have to be held back from running on the field.
In so many ways, leadership is like running a soccer team made of 4 year olds. Here's 5 things we heard from the sideline that carry over to leadership:
"Point to the goal" - Coach used every break in play to ask the team which way they were headed. In soccer that age, they know to kick it in the goal....whether it's the right one is secondary. Leaders need to constantly reinforce the vision and direction they want to take. If they don't, chaos ensues. At first a leader has to show the way, then reinforce it and encourage it. If we as leaders don't know where we're going, how will anyone else?
"Pass the ball!" - Teamwork doesn't come naturally. We are built selfishly, when the ball comes near us we want it. During the game it didn't matter who had the ball or which team had it, every little leg was going for the ball. So the leader has to always be the chief encourager who has to push towards the team working together. It also means that we celebrate accomplishments but we value the assist as much as the goal.
"Take a break" - Leaders have to be aware of when they need to give their team a break. The game was hot and coach knew to get everyone in the game he had to give players a break. One of the saddest stats today is how little time off we take. Leaders need to recognize that for long range effectiveness, team members need off time, refreshment, and shade.
"Get your snack before you leave" - So I think the kids were more excited about the juice box than the game, must be nice to be 4. Leaders have to be givers. We give of ourselves, our effort, our time, our energy, and our credit to those we lead. Just like our coach who gave his Saturday morning to coach kids and spend time investing in others, he went above and made sure they had juice afterwards. The best leaders are the ones who give to rather than take from their team.
"Remember to have fun!" - I get sad thinking about the day sports no longer is fun, and I hope that our boys never get to that point. But so many kids find themselves in a sport that's not fun anymore and they do it because they have to. Our work should be enjoyable and our responsibility as a leader is to make sure that the environment we're creating is one people want to be a part of. When we do that, we build a team setting that not only builds productive results but healthy people.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.