Lasting Impressions of Leadership (updated)

A friend recently asked, "Good and bad, who were the most memorable athletes you have coached?" Surprisingly to me two names immediately came to mind, Morgan and Ryan, although Ryan I had not actually coached much at all.  The common trait between the two is leadership. One a negative leader who held her team back. The other an extraordinarily positive leader who raised his team to achieve more than anyone expected possible of them. Both strong personalities, but each with far different agendas.

Morgan was a good player on her team but clearly not the best player. She is also a megalomaniac. At some point before I arrived on the scene Morgan had realized she was not the best player and therefore would never receive the recognition or power associated with being "the star" so she did the next best thing. She became the best friend of the person who was the star. From that sidekick position she manipulated things to always be in and remain the center of attention even to the detriment of the team. It should be noted that Morgan considered it to be her team and often to referred to it as such.

Ryan was an exceptional player who realized he needed the team as much as the team needed him. He worked diligently to include everyone in the team, to make sure everyone knew their contributions, no matter how minor, were vital to the team's success. He sacrificed for the team and in turn was rewarded by and through the team's success. Ryan received numerous individual accolades but always credited the team for his success.

Both Morgan and Ryan recognized the power of effective leadership but took very different approaches. Morgan's was self-serving and quite destructive to "her" team while Ryan's approach was one of service to and for "the  team".  For obvious reasons both players remain memorable.

A good player does not necessarily equate to being a good coach.  Ryan was one of the top player leaders I have ever encountered.  As a coach, thus far, he has proven to be quite inadequate as a leader.  I myself am guilty of assuming his leadership qualities would transfer seamlessly from playing the game to coaching the game.  You know what they say about assume?  It makes and ass our of you (u) and me.  Such is that case here for I recommended Ryan for a coaching job based on his leadership skills as a player that included coaching on the field / in-game.  His first season as a head coach was a failure of substantial proportions.  The truth, trust, belief that he was able to channel as a player to those around him were absent in him as a coach.  At this point, I am unsure he is capable of becoming even an average coach.

Morgan?  I recently saw a YouTube video of her. It was about sky diving.  She needed one more credit hour to maintain full time student status. Her choice was to take a class on sky diving.  She displayed the same "me first" attitude as always in the video.  All about the attention being received instead of what was really at hand.  Once a megalomaniac, always a megalomaniac in this case.  No amount of giggling and batting the eyes can change the reality of that, imo.

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