First thing that stands out for me personally is how blessed I am to have an opportunity as a Bush fellow to develop further as a leader who truly wants to impact his community, not many people get the opportunity to have an organization such as the Bush Foundation to invest in them becoming a leader that can truly make a difference.
One of the things that have stood out to me have been the importance of taking care of myself. I must honestly say in reflecting I’m personally amazed at what I’ve been able to accomplish in an unhealthy state and the fact that I didn’t recognize or really know how unhealthy I really was. As I have continued my Sankofa journey things are beginning to become clearer of how much I have not addressed or issues that I have made myself too busy to deal with. One of my most recent discoveries was that I really had not taken a real vacation in over eight (8) years often finding other things and activities to be important than me or things that would keep me from dealing with developing my inside. I now realize that you must also giving priority to taking care on the inside as much as the outside. I discovered that I didn’t know how to disconnect and as a result not only was I affected but I had been asking a lot unfairly of my family. Like a lot of people, I thought if I wasn’t there or involved, I just might be missing something. I have concluded that in the last year I’ve gone from playing pick-up basketball to organized basketball as a leader. It becomes clearer later.
Contrary to popular belief, one of the crazy things that I learned the past year is that most of the people we identify as leaders have never spent any time or money investing in developing themselves as leaders. They don’t read leadership books, they don’t attend workshops or seminars, they don’t talk with other leaders, they do absolutely nothing to further develop (Playing pick-up). So, my fellowship has given me a competitive advantage compared to most people who consider themselves leaders while helping me discover that leadership growth must be intentional, it doesn’t just happen. Becoming a better leader requires a plan. You need to set aside time to grow. My mentor John K Cameron would often say “The definition of success is doing the same thing expecting a different result” that has taken on new meaning now having this experience. One can never change their life without changing their daily routine. So, I have learned to schedule my growth as I look to become a better leader.
I have learned that you must find resources to support your growth and when I speak of resources, I’m referencing books, workshop, etc. So, to date my greatest investment has been attending John Maxwell Leadership Training. It has given me a different perspective of leadership. It has opened my eyes that we really have a leadership crisis in this country, primarily because people often confuse management with leadership or think leadership is more about a title.
Going through this training affirmed that I’m on the right track. So much about coaching sports is about transactional leadership. You show up, you do what the coaches ask you to do and you earn playing time or you don’t. So many people that do that is the only way to do it. I knew my leadership style was different but wasn’t sure until now how to really describe it. How I approach coaching would be considered transformational leadership. Never about wins and losses but about changing lives.
John Maxwell describes transformational leadership as a calling. He states “that a calling is not career, you can leave a career, but you can’t leave a calling. You can become bigger than a career, a calling will always be bigger than you. One can resign from a career, but you can never resign a calling”
What’s funny is that on my life journey I’ve tried. Twenty years ago, I could have never imagined myself working with kids.
Transformational leaders transform organizations and communities. For me basketball has always been so much more than just a game.
My personal mission is to offer student-athletes, through participation in competitive athletics, an opportunity to experience meaningful growth, accomplishment, and success. As a student-athlete you are a positive role model within our school and the community at large.
The is to develop a foundation for a championship program and use basketball as a tool to empower young men to be champions in the classroom, in their families, and their communities. Our desire is to develop the “whole person”, not just young men who can jump high and score.
I can honestly say that having greater insight around transformational leadership and being more intentional and focused on becoming a better leader played a significant role in my program this past season. This season was the first time one of my teams made the state tournament without having what most people would consider a Bonafide Division I player by the expert standards. This season I better understand my role as a Head Coach.
I was more conscious of my influence and that leadership is about multiplying influence. I realize that long term my primary responsibility is to pass the baton, pass it to my assistant coaches and my players. I witnessed that as I grew my staff and players grew. Our influence in the school increased, our influenced in the community increased.
How I communicate became much more important, I was more aware and shared with our staff the importance of being trustworthy, providing unconditional love and really valuing our kids not as basketball players but future leaders.
My greatest surprised was watching my coaches after I got out the way, how they stepped up and made things happened. They moved from output to outcomes. We also learned how to redefine success; it wasn’t about where we finished on the court but the impact on the lives of the young men, we served
As I previously shared, I learned that empowerment works, that the best leaders create other leaders. S What I learn this season is that I needed to Believe in Them: Let them make mistakes and let them learn from their mistakes; Encourage Them: Everybody needs a Coach even coaches so coach them like I would want to be coach; Share with them: What good is all my experience and acquired wisdom if I’m not willing to share what I know. Trust them: Let them fall, understand that they don't have to do things that exact same way that I've done them.
I asked each of my Coaches what did they learn from me this season? One of the biggest lessons I learned this month is that Commitment precedes resources. While every leader needs financial and human resources to reach their goals, commitment should always precede those resources. When you demonstrate a commitment to your mission and goals, resource will find you. While it is not new, but I guess I saw this year the importance of modeling the tight of leadership that you want your leaders to be.
Coach Jackson” Chemistry is important, you must set standards up front and communication is key."
Coach Mitchell " Perseverance is not a long race: it is many short races one after another. You showed us how to endure mental toughness, how to love one another through tough times and still be successful.
Coach Pierce " When you believe in someone, even if they doubt themselves, anything is possible. That Teamwork does work, amazed at how much you are able to achieve in a short period of time. To whom much is given much is required, you don't have people to do things you aren't willing to do! Faith does move mountains"
The great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr had it right, “Everybody can be great, you want to be great. Serve Somebody!!!