Monday, August 10, 2015

Four Days With The Marine Corps

I wanted to take the time to talk about the awesome experience I had with the Marines and other coaches around the country at the WBCA/USMC Leadership workshop in Quantico, VA. I also wanted to let others know about some of the great leadership topics that were covered and to encourage others to be great leaders and develop great leaders.

The experience that I went through at the Marine Leadership Workshop was priceless. I am one of very few that can say they have been through the life and a day of a marine in training without actually being one and I did with others that are coaches from various sports such as women's basketball, men's basketball, track & field, baseball, golf, swimming, strength & conditioning, and a athletic director. I did everything from marine lectures, critical thinking exercises, field exercises to accomplish squad missions, to combat with pogo sticks, hand to hand combat, and training on obstacle courses.  All things were with a purpose to provide different insights to leadership tactics while working with other people and helped us to truly form a bond. I honestly don't know how anybody can go through an experience like this and not come back changed in a great way.

First thing, I was really impressed with how the marine corps set a standard of excellence. I have never witnessed a group that has such a passionate attitude about the job that they do and also the discipline and attention to detail that they practice with everything they do in their everyday walk of life. One of the first things the marines instructed us on is their definition of leadership; which is the art of influencing and directing others to obtain their obedience, confidence, respect, and willing cooperation to accomplish the mission. We as coaches can use this definition with our teams and staffs in our programs. All of us want to have a successful program and be winners but sometimes we need the right balance of different elements to achieve that like those that are in the marines definition of leadership. We have to always remember when we are trying to develop great leaders within our team and our staff is that "you have to know how to be a great follower before you can lead."  The marines pointed out some great leadership points for us all to keep in mind when we are thinking of an approach to building leaders:

1. You will not become an effective leader in a one seminar or overnight. You must practice the techniques that you learn consistently.
2. Ask yourself are leaders born or developed? or Both?
3. Hold your people to a standard.
4. When in charge, take charge!
5. Good leaders care for their people. You can not fake this; they will know.
6. Have a good balancing act. (mission accomplishment vs. troop welfare)

The marines core values are: Honor, Courage, and Commitment. What are your team core values? Values such as these provide a foundation to build on when the marines are building their platoon and are great for when we as coaches are building our teams. Coaches, we have to stay committed to what our core values are and believe in them. Get your team to have a sense of pride in them and don't let them waiver from it. The marines also talked a lot about legacy. What do people say about you? What does your team say about you? That is probably something we as coaches think about from time to time, I know I do. One of my desires as a coach is that I hope that whenever I am done coaching, I have affected each and every one of my players lives in a positive way to be life changers. I understand that if I want to have this affect on them, I must teach them how to be life changers. Coaches, understand that we can not have a standard for something on our team if the players don't know what that standard is. Be the example.

The things that I have discussed on this post are only a small portion of my experience with the marine corps and there is much more information I could share and will at a later time. However, I do want to leave you with one last food for thought. "Who you are, is how your team will act."