In his second to last book, The Essential Wooden, Coach Wooden summarized his leadership philosophies. Here are 7 keys from the book.
1. Operate with a sense of urgency. This is summed up with a famous phrase that Wooden coined, "Live as though you may die tomorrow. Learn as though you will live forever." Wooden says that at the heart of every effective leader is the idea of seeking knowledge with a sense of urgency.
2. Build trust with your team as quickly as possible. "Without trust between the team and the leader, there is really no team at all - just a collection of individuals who don't amount to much." Wooden says that the star of any team is the team itself rather than any one individual.
3. Apply the 4 rules of learning: Explanation, demonstration, imitation and repetition.
- Explanation: Thoroughly explain what players need to do (for example, a new drill or skill technique), and why.
- Demonstration: Walk through the steps of the drill or technique slowly for visual learning.
- Imitation: Have players do the drill or technique in the exact way you’ve taught them.
- Repetition: Repeat, repeat, repeat. The goal is to create a correct habit that can be produced instinctively under great pressure.
4. Walk the walk. Whatever values, attitudes, and ideals a manager or coach wants a team to embrace are best accomplished by adopting them him or herself. "Be hardest on yourself - the model for what you want your team to become. Don't look for others to be your quality control expert."
5. Stay hungry. A little success can be dangerous. "If you are content when you reach a goal or important milestone, you can lose the desire to keep improving. You will fall into the trap of thinking that past success will occur in the future without even greater effort."
6. Constantly ask the team for complete commitment and effort, then accept the blame when the team falters.
7. Put the good of the team first. Consider yourself part of the team instead of above it.