As you may recall, both my 10-year old son and 7-year old daughter play lacrosse.
Even though I never played lacrosse, I was a high-school and college athlete (soccer & wrestling) and am a huge proponent of kids playing sports.
I was recently sent an article written by the US Lacrosse Association entitled "10 Steps to a Positive Lacrosse Experience" on what parents can do to foster a better experience for their kids. I didn't find the article eye-opening -- just common sense stuff in my opinion -- until I started thinking about it in a business sense.
Specifically, these steps can be directly applied and serve as a great guide for being an effective leader. Let me show you why...
# 1: Be supportive of your child by giving encouragement and showing an interest in his or her team.
As a leader, you need to constantly give encouragement to and show sincere interest in your employees if you want to motivate them and boost their performance.
# 2: Attend games whenever possible. If you cannot attend, ask about your child's experience, not whether the team won or lost.
Great leaders see what's going on in the workplace. They walk around. They attend meetings. And they speak to their employees to understand how things are going.
# 3: Be a positive role model by displaying good sportsmanship at all times to coaches, officials, opponents and your child's teammates.
Effective leaders are positive role models. If you don't act in the manner you'd like your employees to act, they won't.
# 4: Let your child set his own goals and play the game for himself/herself. Be your child's "home court advantage" by giving him or her your unconditional support regardless of how well he or she performs.
Great leaders allow their employees to set goals. Sure, those goals need to align with the organization's goals. But employees are much more successful and dedicated to achieving goals that they set or helped establish. And employees who do not meet their goals should be supported and helped so that they improve and meet their goals the next time.
# 5: Let the coach coach. Refrain from giving your child advice when he or she is playing.
If your organization has multiple levels of management, this comes into play. For example, if a manager tells an employee one thing, the organization's president needs to be careful not to tell that employee conflicting information. All management needs to be on the same page - this is simply done via effective communications.
# 6: Respect the decisions of the referee or umpire. This is an important part of honoring the game. Your child will pay more attention to how you act than to what you say.
Things will not always go right in organizations. Some battles you will win, and others you will lose. When you lose a battle, the answer is never to point fingers or complain about external reasons that caused the failure. Rather, you must accept the failure, and figure out how to improve and avoid failure next time.
# 7: Read the rule book. A full understanding of the rules will help you enjoy the game and educate others.
In my opinion, the only real rule book in business is the ethics rule book. By being a positive role model (see #3) and showing a high degree of ethics, your employees will most likely do the same.
# 8: Get to know who is in charge. Meet with the leadership of the program, whether it's school-sponsored or recreational, to discuss topics such as cost, practice and game scheduling, insurance coverage, emergency procedures, etc.
Effective leaders get involved in their industries. They go to industry events. They meet other leaders. They sit on industry boards.
No organization operates in isolation. Understand and get involved in your industry. This will help with setting industry policies, finding partner organizations, and becoming well-known, which will positively influence sales, the number of quality employees seeking to join you, etc.
# 9: Get involved! A great way to support your child's lacrosse experience is by becoming a volunteer for the program. Some of the ways you can get involved: keep the scorebook, run the clock...
See #2 -- make sure you circulate around your workplace and get involved.
# 10: Sit back and enjoy the game. Remember, lacrosse is played for FUN.
Great leaders enjoy the journey and not just the end result. Running an organization is hard work, but it should be fun. You should be doing what you love to do. And if your employees are motivated and truly care about the welfare of your organization, running your organization is an extremely rewarding experience.
To get a step-by-step roadmap to becoming a great leader and leading your company to success, watch my leadership video here.