Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Carolina Way: Leadership Lessons from a Life in Coaching

The Carolina Way: Leadership Lessons from a Life in Coaching

B. Parts Two, Three and Four: Playing Hard," Playing Together," Playing Smart

These three separate parts of the book form its core. These parts detail and fully develop how Smith executed his coaching philosophy. Each part is divided into chapters specifically focusing on one part of the overall concept. Among the most helpful chapters in these parts from a leadership perspective for the typical business, government, or military leader are the chapters on "Recruiting the Players," "Team Building Techniques," and "One-on One Meetings." (27)

In "Recruiting the Players," the authors emphasize the need to carefully select employees, focusing not only on each employee's abilities, but also on how each of their goals and attitudes will fit with organizational goals. "Hire smart, manage easy" and "hire slowly, ... fire quickly" are the themes of this chapter. (28) These concepts strongly support the authors' thesis because they have near universal applicability across the spectrum of leadership challenges. (29)

In "Team Building Techniques" Smith discusses rewarding players, praising performances that are beneficial to the team, and showing respect for all players who are trying their best for the team, regardless of the outcome of their efforts. (30) The practical benefits of these approaches are highly lauded in both the player perspectives and the business perspectives sections of the chapter. (31) The authors provide several examples of how these techniques can be applied to business in ways such as starting each meeting by praising individual efforts, large or small, that helped the team, (32) and by treating with greater respect those senior employees who are not part of the management team. (33)

Finally, in the chapter titled "One-on-One Meetings," Smith outlines his methods and reasons for holding one-on-one meetings with his players throughout the year. (34) The premises of this idea are that leaders do too much "doing" and not enough teaching, and that most employees are too hurried in their daily activities to get a good feel and understanding of the company's goals and missions. (35) The authors suggest that leaders should have monthly meeting with each employee. (36) The authors assert, generally, that by conducting regular one-on-one meetings, a leader can remain in-tune with employees, and the employees can remain in-tune with the leader's expectations. (37) Military leaders would be wise to recognize the value of Smith's practices and apply them to both mandatory and discretionary counseling sessions with the troops under their command or influence. In addition to the value of leaders directly communicating their expectations and performance assessment of their subordinates, such individual counseling sessions also provide an opportunity for subordinates to raise problems or concerns that they might not otherwise be comfortable raising in the more formal work setting. By discussing the concerns, the leader should better be able to further the organizations goals.

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