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Issue 95 - You Handle Things, You Work With People

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 2 Issue 95
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



This point represents a key distinction that Coach Wooden thought was important to be an effective leader.
The word handle, in part, is defined as a means of controlling or to feel or manipulate with the hands.
The leader who simply handles people indeed makes them feel manipulated and thus will truly never get their best effort in the long run.
In his book with Steve Jamison: Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court, Coach Wooden discussed ideas he had about Bringing Out The Best In People:
People want to believe you are sincerely interested in them as persons, not just for what they can do for you. You can't fake it. If you don't mean it, they know it, just as you'd know if someone was pretending to be interested in you.
Most people try to live up to expectations. It always comes back to courtesy, politeness and consideration.
Basketball practice at UCLA with Coach Wooden began at 3 PM. The players knew Coach would always be sitting courtside at 2:30 PM in the event they wanted to come early and discuss anything regarding their personal, academic or basketball situation.
This was in addition, of course, to being available in his office.
In his book Practical Modern Basketball there is a section entitled Working With Your Players. Coach lists 10 key points in this section, 5 of them are as follows:
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.
Be easily approached by the players and sincerely interested in all of their personal problems, successes and failures.
Earn  the respect and confidence of the players.
Respect and study the individuality of each person.
Teach loyalty, honesty and respect for the rights of others in the sense of responsibility.
These behaviors by a leader represent working with people, not handling them.

In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell refers to a study that documented that the most annoying type of communication occurs when it is condescending.
Actions by a leader that are not manipulative or condescending will build the strength of the team. Actions that are manipulative or condescending will weaken the team.
These three simple, consistent behaviors by a leader may help the team improve.
  1. Say good morning and how are you today? with a sincere heart to all team members without giving them an operational instruction.
  2. Always be mindful of your tone of voice (refer to this week’s poem) and apologize when it's inappropriate. Make your best effort to never talk down to people.
  3. Do your best to never interrupt a team member when they are speaking and actively listen with an open mind.
If you Google are employee’s personal problems your problems you will find many interesting articles and perspectives. I particularly enjoyed the article from this link:
Hope this helps!

Yours in Coaching,

Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




Watch Video

Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


 The Tone of Voice


 It’s not so much what you say
As the manner in which you say it;
It’s not so much the language you use
As the TONE in which you convey it.


“Come here!” I sharply said,
And the child cowered and wept.
“Come here,” I said – he looked and smiled
And straight to my lap he crept.

Words may be mild and fair
But the TONE may pierce like a dart;
Words may be soft as the summer air
But the TONE may break my heart.

For words may come from the mind
Grow by study and art –
But TONE leaps from the inner self,
Revealing the state of the heart.

Whether you know it or not,
Whether you mean it or care
Gentleness, kindness, love and hate,
Envy and anger are there.

Then, would you quarrels avoid
And peace and love rejoice
Keep anger not only out of your words
Keep it out of your voice.










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