There's one skill great coaches and leaders have mastered; it improves work and family relationships and bring out the best in people, and it may be something you've overlooked...
I've overlooked it, too. I remember one specific personal situation where I forgot about this skill. It was years ago when my nephews, Jesse and Christopher, visited us in Atlanta from their hometown of West Columbia, South Carolina. Not having children, other than my four-legged ‘kids’ Oscar and Felix, I wasn't always sure what boys would want to do, and I went to great lengths to line up activities so that each visit was ‘perfect’.
On this visit I was feeling even more pressure to create a great weekend because my husband, who likes all 'the guy-things’ my nephews like: race cars, motors, woodworking and everything male, was out of town. I didn’t want my nephews to be bored with Aunt Suzie, so I was frantically searching my iPad for cool places to take them where they would be entertained.
I came across this Wall Street Journal Article: What a Good Coach Does by Actor David Duchovny (from the t.v. shows X-Files and Californication). As I read it, it dawned on me that I was focusing on the wrong thing with my nephews. Here's what caught my attention.
In the Article Duchovny shares how his middle school basketball coach, Coach Byrne, influenced him. “...here was a man who respected me by demanding that I respect myself and the game. I never knew if he liked me, that wasn’t so important. He saw potential in me, and I began to respect myself. That is what a good coach does. He fills you with a belief that may or may not be justified. As you make the dangerous crossing from unproven belief to actual accomplishment, from potential to reality, a good coach holds your hand so expertly that you don’t even know your hand is being held. I got better cause Coach Bryne told me I was already better. It was that simple --- a magic trick. And every success I’ve ever had since, has had some of this same magic in it, either at the hands of other skilled teachers or by the generous trickery of the voice inside me, they instilled."
He goes on to say that Coach Bryne's approach moved him from a reserved, scared, outwardly blasé 14 year old to a team player who began to care and become fully engaged in the game. Duchovny is famous and has been all over the world, and he's now 50+ years old, but he still remembers the impact his middle school basketball coach had on him!
Duchovny’s article reminded me of something I knew, but temporarily forgot in my worry to make my weekend with the nephews 'perfect'. What a ‘good’ Aunt (Coach, Leader, Friend, Parent) does is the same thing Duchovny's basketball coach did for him: Cultivate a Positive Sense of Self in Others. This skill is the ability to sustain or build self-confidence in others. It's one of four skills all best bosses have mastered.
Duchovny‘s coach believed in him, and conveyed that belief to him. And, that article reminded me that the places I took my nephews were way less important than how I interacted with them. That my main focus should be on seeing their potential and expressing their value, and reflecting that to them, not solely on the activities I planned.
In my Four Skills Best Bosses Have Mastered leadership classes the first skill leader's focus on, is: Cultivate a Positive Sense of Self in Others. Here are three actions you can take to move yourself toward mastery in this skill, so you can be like Coach Byrne with your employees:
Coach Brynes strength in the Cultivate a Positive Sense of Self in Others skill - stayed with Duchovny for 40 years, because we NEVER forget how someone makes us feel.
It just makes sense, doesn't it? We work harder for people who look for our potential and reflect it back to us.
I use this Video in many of my corporate leadership training programs. It's a great reminder of how to best improve work and family relationships, and of what a good coach, leader and family member always does. Watch and enjoy this good music, cool pictures and uplifting thoughts:
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou
My weekend with Jesse and Christopher was wonderful, after I stopped worrying about if I had entertained them enough. When I turned my focus on: Seeing Their Best, Being Present and Expecting the Best WHILE we raced go carts, watched movies and ate all of their favorite foods, well, we had a great weekend.
My nephews are amazing and I am, once again, reminded that BEING with employees, people I'm coaching, friends and family members has MUCH MORE POWER than what I say and do.
It's wonderful to focus on what’s most important, first!