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Issue 209 - Being Critical While Being Productive

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 5 Issue 209
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



In the workplace, a supervisor sometimes criticizes an employee and walks away, thinking they have just helped that employee improve. The reality is, they have left an employee who is upset, feels picked on and is less productive.
The ability to create an environment in which a coach can be critical, without reducing the productivity of the player being criticized, is essential to maximize performance improvement.
Coach Wooden was able to be critical of a player and maintain the same, if not an improved, level of productivity. This environment was a result of preparation and attention to detail.
Before the season started, Coach Wooden gave each player a handout entitled: RE: Criticism, with the following three points on it:
1. If the coach “bawls you out”, consider it as a compliment. He is trying to teach you and impress a point upon you. If he were not interested in you, he would not bother. A player is criticized only to improve him and not for any personal reasons.
2. Take your criticism in a constructive way, without alibis or sulking. If the coach was wrong, he will find it out in due time.
3. Do not nag or razz or criticize a teammate at any time. It may lead to a bad feeling, which can only hurt the team. We must avoid cliques and all work toward the best interest of the team.
Coach also gave his players a handout entitled: RE: Expected Criticism For Early In The Season. This document listed nine specific items for offense and five specific items for defense on which the players could expect to be corrected early in the season.
Once in practice, the players expected to receive criticism, and in fact, would be concerned if they went through practice and were not corrected; as that would indicate a lack of interest from the coaching staff.
When delivering correction, Coach had control of his tone of voice and used it in a manner that would be most effective with each individual player.  As Coach liked to say:
Be completely impartial and show no favoritism, but remember that no two players are alike, and that each must be treated according to his own individual personality.
Coach Wooden’s criticism was never personal and almost always was delivered with a constructive, workable suggestion on how to improve.
What a great blueprint for: “Being Critical while being Productive”.

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


Build me a son, O Lord
MacArthur’s Prayer


Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak; and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee -- and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.

Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, "I have not lived in vain!"


General Douglas MacArthur 






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