The last few years, Louisville basketball has had two Achilles Heels -- Kentucky and Virginia. Both have presented matchup problems and have been the frustration of the fanbase, for different reasons. Kentucky has recruited at a much higher prestige, has a wealth of future NBA talent, and has the only coach who can rival Pitino for personality power. Virginia on the other hand plays a complex defense and slow-down offense, both very efficient. Virginia's weakness is a team that can hit jump shots. If you've followed Louisville for a few years, this has been a problem.
But one thing jumps out -- the high regard fans have for Virginia coach Tony Bennett. He carries himself well, is a class act, recruits good players, holds them accountable, and has avoided the ugliness that is college recruiting. He's a committed Christian whose faith is the catalyst for his life, family, and coaching. Behind everything, he has a philosophy rooted in Five Pillars:
For us as leaders, we can learn a lot from these pillars and how they apply for ministry.
Humility - We lead from the position of the towel and basin, not the corner office. When we are motivated by pride or consider ourselves better than those charged to our care, we fail to be shepherd leaders. Philippians 2 reminds us that even Christ led and served from humility.
Servanthood - There is no job too small or unimportant for a leader to do. We cannot ask people to do what we are unwilling to ourselves. So if you want to see visitors and guests, invite people yourself. If you think the work day is important, show up. If people see you getting involved and serving, they'll be more apt to trusting you. Mark 10:45 is one of my favorite verses: The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.
Unity - Nothing can destroy a ministry or a church like disunity, especially among leadership. As a leader, you are responsible to make sure your team is on the same page. Unity is not uniformity, and every team member has a unique personality and gift set. But as a leader you need to work towards getting everyone on the same page.
Passion - What you do matters. You're caring for God's people, you're charged to lead the advancement of God's mission in your community, and you get paid to live out your Christian life. It deserves your passion, your commitment, and your enthusiasm. "Whatever you do, work at at with all your heart, as working for the Lord."
Thankfulness - Saying thank you as a leader is crucial. We must recognize what others do, and appreciate the work and fruit of their work. If you're looking for pats on the back and public appreciation, don't become a leader. You'll dole it out, you'll see other people recognized, and in many cases you'll be the one who has to own the mistakes. It's what you signed up for. When things go right, thank others. When things go wrong, own it.
It's great seeing the success of quality people like Bennett and the Virginia program. And let's all be thankful they're not on Louisville's side of the bracket for the NCAA Tournament.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.