Leadership 101

One of the myths about being a leader is that you need to have all the answers. In fact, more times than not, when I lead I have to make choices that are often unpopular, will most definitely be criticized, and I don’t know if the decision is sound. At my soccer practice yesterday, senior Jake Lifson tested his own leadership when he encountered a difficult attitude on the team. When a fellow teammate was inattentive to the drill at hand, Coach Rigney asked the player to take a lap…he refused and then got a little testy. Jake asked him to take another lap…he still refused. At that point, Jake led his teammates down to the end line for a series of wind sprints until his insubordinate teammate got with the program. Not only did Jake finish first in every one of the sprints, but also he cheered on his teammate who had to complete the two laps.

After practice Jake pulled Coach Rigney and me aside to apologize because he thought he had sidetracked the practice and made matters worse. Coach Rigney and I were inspired by his leadership and willingness to make a decision – a decision that, initially, was not well liked by his peers. It is clear that with this type of team culture, the Men’s Varsity Soccer team has the potential for an awesome season this fall.