We absolutely believe so!
Many times leadership isn’t viewed as cool, but when we stop and reflect on the best athletes and coaches in the world, the vast majority of them exhibit tremendous leadership ability.
It’s time we address the coolness of leadership with today’s youth. As leaders, it is our duty to train the next generation of leaders. We must help them see the big picture and understand the small acts of leadership are cool, because they make the leader!
When “coolness” takes over a locker room or program things begin to deteriorate quickly. Performance begins to decline and inevitably as a result success takes a hit as well. Our friends at PGC Basketball have a saying we believe in, “Don’t be too cool or too shy.” As coaches we must encourage our athletes to come out of their shells and take action.
More so than many things, “coolness” is contagious among youth. At Lead ‘Em Up we believe that which gets praised gets repeated. Kids naturally do more of the things which bring them recognition, good or bad. As coaches we should make it a habit to praise the small acts of leadership we see. When we celebrate these acts, we make them cool!
Transforming a culture into one fulll of leaders is no easy fix. It takes intenional work. We can’t wish for it to happen. We can’t hope the next group of seniors are good leaders. As with fundamental skills, we either coach it or allow bad habits to rule. Leadership and character are the same. We must intentionally teach leadership and character, or we are choosing to have a bad culture.
So…how do we make leadership cool? We believe in starting with these four steps.
First, develop a consistent approach. This is why we recommend using our drills and exercises on a weekly basis. Consistency helps us fight against complancency and coolness.
Secondly, remove the bad apples. This is difficult, but necessary. Having bad apples will bring the ship down. When players or coaches refuse to jump on board and be a part of the vision for our culture, we have to let them go.
Thirdly, praise vulnerability. Being vulnerable is most definitely not seen as cool, especially for middle and high school athletes. Make it a priority to praise any athlete who demonstrates vulnerability to their peers.
Lastly, praise the “non-cool” acts. Start by encouraging athletes to pick up trash, clean the locker room, serve the community, support teammates, showing up early, stay late, and ask questions. When we witness athletes doing these things we must celebrate them in front of the team.
It’s part of our vision and mission to “Make Leadership The New Cool”!
Will you join us?