Avoiding Dysfunction: The Importance Of Staff Development

I have become passionate about seeing leaders build a great staff culture as well as develop those around them so I am writing a short ebook about staff leadership.

Over the next several weeks I am going to be working through my ideas and doing a ‘test drive’ of sorts.

A lack of leadership within the coaching staff has prevented many coaches from helping their program reach their potential. Or to say it more bluntly, many a coach has lost their job because they haven’t developed a unified, healthy staff culture and haven’t developed those around them.

Today I want to share some hindrances to leaders building staff culture and developing and managing their staff.

1) Leaders don’t see the importance. 

Sometimes this is overtly stated.

Most of the time it is stated in other ways, like “They’re adults so I expect them to just do their jobI”

Most of the time though, leaders will give lip service to the need for staff development and management but devote no time to actually developing and managing their staff.

First off, let’s tackle the “They’re adults so I expect them to just do their job!” mindset.

The first flaw is it assumes that adults don’t need to be developed and culture is not important. As a leader, you can either leave the development up to each staff member or you can create an environment where development and growth are apart of the air everyone breaths. It is really powerful when both the head coach and the staff member see the importance of growth and staying sharp.

The second flaw that the “They’re adults so I expect them to just do their job!” mindset produces is your staff will always play it safe, never thinking outside the box on how to get better.

They will fear failure, and for the most part, not grow. Most coaches have the mindset that athletes need to develop and grow but a coach… well a coach is paid to do a job. Every coach in the world knows that they have to get the job done, however, that mindset can lead to a fixed mindset.

Regardless how this plays out, whether they give lips service to the importance or just plain refuse to do it, the staff culture always flows downhill. It will always cascade down to the rest of the program.

Before we move on, another reason I have heard to justify not making staff development a priority is the mindset…”I know a coach who won 9 conference championships and never worried about the development of the staff.”

This is survivor bias. This is like telling everyone about your grandpa who smoked two packs of cigarettes for 48 years and never even coughed, and lived until he was 92.

Have there been coaches who have won and not done one single piece of development or culture building with their staff? Maybe. But most likely, if I had to guess, that leader did somethings really intuitive. He/she didn’t call it staff development or culture, but that is exactly what it was.

Entropy is the law that states when left alone, everything moves towards chaos, not order, unhealth, not health, and disunity not unity. Left alone, your staff will experience entropy. It’s not if, but when.

1) Leaders have never seen it modeled.

There is so much of life that is caught not taught. So if the head coach has not seen another leader develop those around hm/her and build a great staff culture, they might not even have a framework for it.

If that is you… you have never seen it modeled, the fact you are reading this is a good start.

Understanding the need for it is step one. And admitting you are not sure how to do it is step two in the right direction.

Over the next several weeks I want to give practical steps to help in creating a great staff culture and developing those around you.

I end with this… leaders are in the business of developing people and helping everyone under their leadership be all they can be. Great leaders develop and build up more leaders.

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Travis Wyckoff

1 Comment

  1. Jerome Masole on August 31, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    Great stuff Travis

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