The Journey, Part IV: Leadership

Written by Jeff Thuringer

The final value to discuss is leadership. Leadership, first and foremost, is recognizing that the most important person to lead is oneself. This is done through honest self-assessment while maintaining a positive outlook and a growth mindset. It is about saying and believing the idea, “I can improve through hard work and deliberate practice.” You set goals, determine a practice plan, and hold yourself accountable. Along the way, you take time to celebrate your successes and progress. Leaders not only rely on their own honest self-assessment, but they exhibit a thirst for feedback.


So what happens when you constantly look for areas to improve, work hard, maintain a positive attitude, and maintain the belief that you can get better? Not only do you improve and get closer to achieving your potential, but you also become a positive example – a role model for others. So by leading ourselves, we lead others by example. That’s the first step. To lead others we have to be a positive example and have the respect of our teammates. To earn that respect you need to treat your teammates repectfully, be positive, and be encouraging. As Michael Jordan said, “Earn your leadership every day.”

We often see negative criticism mistaken for leadership. “Come on, you can’t strikeout!” or, “You can’t make that error!” There is a lot of “you” and a lot of negativity. Is that the kind of person you want to be around? Not only are these individuals critical at the wrong time, but they are also critical about the wrong thing.

Leaders recognize that negative criticism can make play worse, and it can alienate teammates. Instead of negative criticism, leaders adopt a “we” perspective and a positive voice. “Hey its all right, we have your back and you’ll get the next one.” “Hey, I’ve struggled with that and I found this works. Try that next time and I’m sure you will make the play.” Leaders believe everyone can improve through hard work and expect their teammates to work hard to improve in every practice. That’s the difference between a teammate who is a critic and one who is a leader. Leaders help teach skills, stay positive, encourage, and are critical of effort every day (NOT game day plays or outcomes).

What leaders do is hold others accountable for achieving team improvement goals. They realize they can’t completely control the outcomes, but they can control how hard the team works. Leaders understand the old adage that, “how we practice is how we play.” They understand that the game can be won or lost well before you step on the field. Leaders bring a positive attitude, their highest concentration, and their best effort to every practice. They hold their teammates accountable to do the same.

We’ve finished the walk through of our mission statement and our values: selflessness, trust, grit and leadership. I am sure future blogs will be more entertaining and more instructional, but we thought it was important to tell you about what we believe, what we value and how we want to mentor our athletes to behave.

I serve. I trust. I grind. I lead. I am a Starter.