What can a high school football coach teach entrepreneurs? Well it turns out, she can teach us plenty. That’s right, She. Last weekend as
my girls played in the park, I read a story on Natalie Randolph by the Washington Post’s James Wagner. The article contained everything you would expect to see on a woman in a man’s sport, but I saw some important lessons in her leadership and here they are:
Invest in your teammates
Your staff are your teammates. How you acknowledge their potential defines how they play. Randolph demands that her players focus they
same determination they have on the football field in the classroom, and that’s important for business owners to remember. Investing in knowledge creates an atmosphere of excellence. It’s important for people to know their job, but it is also important for them to understand why they do their job.
Be the one with the most sacrifices
Randolph takes sacrifices to an extreme level and while there should be a work- life balance, at the end of the day the boss should be the one with the most sacrifices. I would never ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do and yet a lot of entrepreneurs have no problem tasking underlings
with the most unpleasant tasks. The problem with that strategy is that it creates resentment and resentment creates problems.
Build true trust
Many leaders take this issue of trust and justify its breakdown as ‘it’s just business, nothing personal’. The thing is though, is that it is personal. Entrepreneurs forget that while we are planning strategies and plotting growth the people that work for us are people. And if they have
been there from the beginning, it’s not just business. For our staff to trust us, we have to be honest about the state of our business and about the state of staff relationships. Relationships are hard in the best of companies, but creating an atmosphere where your staff can talk without fear of retribution, can collaborate without thinking about sharks in the water helps your staff find their trust in you. An atmosphere of trust creates loyalty which creates better employees which leads to a better company.
Understand your challenges
Randolph wanted to play ball herself, but her father warned her that people would try to hurt her because she’s a girl so she became a coach. I take exception with this, I think that it shouldn’t have deterred her but the lesson here is to be aware of what challenges you are up against and
make them a part of your strategy. Understanding your challenges and whether your strengths can beat them is part of being a leader.
Leadership has the ability to do so much, at its best it can inspire and at its worst it can create permanent enemies. Do it right and you
can build an empire, so what will you be building today?