|Trust and buy-in.
A program can not be successful without the leader winning these two things.
And they must be won. You can’t demand or force.
How do you get buy-in? How do you win trust?
There are three primary tools that leaders use to win trust/buy-in.
+ Connection: this is building relationships with your people.
+ Clarity: this is knowing who you are, what your program is, where you are headed, and how you are going to help your people get there.
+ Competence: this is knowing your craft.
You need all three but don’t have to be elite at all three.
As I work with clients I am on the hunt to figure out what their unique strengths are. Far too often we have a vague idea but my goal is to clearly articulate and give them elite clarity on their unique gifts.
One coach who I have worked with, in discussing his strengths, mentioned that he: is authentic, transparent, truthful, demanding, sees the game clearly which makes him a good strategist, has a great idea of who is a good fit for the program, and knows what his program’s identity is.
It is the totality of his strengths that makes him elite.
Lets look at his strengths through the lens of the three C’s of trust.
Authentic, transparent, and truthful: connection
Demanding: because of authenticity and transparency, and truthfulness (connection) he is able to challenge at a really high level while still keeping trust.
Good strategist: competence
Knows who is a good fit for the program, and the program’s identity: clarity
This particular coach is high in all three categories. I have seen elite coaches who are not high in all three. They are average in one or two but elite on the other. All coaches are wired and gifted differently.
Figure out how you win trust and buy-in so you can be you.
The Root & Consequence of Using Force
influence > Force. How do you win trust and buy-in? You can either influence it or force it. Any coach or leader who leads with force/power and not influence is destined to fail.
They might have enough recruiting success, enough moxy and manipulation with their athletes and staff to pull it off for a short time, but eventually, it will come back to bite them.
Fear is often at the root of this force. They don’t have enough confidence in themselves to win influence so they use brute force. They sense they have no control. They tighten the grip of control. And at the center is fear. Fear of failure. Fear of losing their job. Fear of not getting a better job. Fear of what others are saying.
Coaches who use force and power put a ceiling on their careers. They will most likely never be able to coach at the highest levels because you can’t bully high-level players.
What Influence is Not
Don’t mistake winning influence for being soft, letting the athletes do whatever they want, and never challenging them.
It is not passive. It is not letting accountability slide. It is not void of challenge. It is not void of intensity.
The coach in the example above, challenges his athletes at an extremely high level. You can challenge at a high level without using force.
What Force Is
When I use the term ‘force’, there are several things embedded in this.
It is a command and control style. It often includes manipulation and bullying. It is often a leader who is wildly inconsistent…one day happy, the next angry, the next disengaged, the next…
It often includes demeaning others as a strategy to get the most out of their athletes/staff…and it is done in the name of ‘trying to toughen them up.’
This leader would never stand for someone treating him/her like they treat their athletes/staff.
Elite leaders win trust/buy-in. Average to poor leaders can’t consistently or ever win influence/buy-in…so they bully, manipulate, and force trust/buy-in.
Three tools to win trust: connection. clarity. competence. You don’t have to be elite at all three but must have all three.
Fear is often at the root of using force.
If you can’t win influence, your career ceiling is dramatically lowered.
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