// you’re reading...

Coaching Tips

Words Every Leader Should Know

The other day I ran into an official at a girls high school. She is busy planning a reunion, and she’s running into problems.

Rivalries that existed back then are still in play.

One student wanted to know why another student had received her invitation first.

Another student wondered why she hadn’t received credit for something she thought deserved some mention.

All in all, this reunion quickly became a minefield of emotions and grievances.

Do you want to know the kicker?

This particular reunion is the 50th.

Yes, these people are dwelling on things that happened at least 50 years ago. You know the expression “Let it go?” These people can’t.

It’s easy for us to look at them, shake our heads and say, “Tsk, tsk.” But this isn’t about criticizing these people. It’s about recognizing how right they are.

How right they are?

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” said poet Maya Angelou.

These may be the most important words that anyone — coach, teacher, family member or boss — will ever hear. People will never forget how you made them feel. Even 50 years later.

Whether you’re giving feedback, teaching someone how long to cook hard-boiled eggs or putting together the royal wedding guest list, people will never forget how you made them feel.

Does that mean you should go easy on people? No. But it does mean that you should offer honest communication. Make your feedback very specific. Criticize behaviors, not people. Never let the problem become more important than the person to be loved.

I once heard Penn State football coach Joe Paterno say that he had no signs in his office. But if he did have one, Paterno said, it would read, “Love your players. They are the only ones you have.”

Famed volleyball coach Dr. Carl McGown said, “It’s not important whether your players love you or not. What’s important is that you love them.”

Great advice for building a team today. And for shaping memories 50 years from now.

*** *** *** *** ***

Mike Tully speaks to sports, business and educational groups. He also works with coaches, athletes and teams to make their practice time more productive and efficient. He and Gary Pritchard are co-authors of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know.” To see Coach Tully and Coach Pritchard discuss “Seven Ways to Prepare for Adversity,” click here.


No comments for “Words Every Leader Should Know”

Post a comment