John Wooden's Leadership

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Besides building community, another quintessential element of John Wooden’s leadership style was truly valuing others through an empathetic attitude and viewing himself as a teacher. John Wooden believed that you must care deeply for the entirety of the people you lead. “People want to believe you are sincerely interested in them as persons, not just what they can do for you…you’ll get better cooperation and results if you are sincerely interested in people’s families and interests” (Wooden: A Lifetime 33-34). One of the reasons he had so much success in motivating and leading his teams was the fact he invested time into relationships with his players. Wooden often talked about being closer to his non-starters because he had to invest more…show more content…
There is an old saying that, “great leaders care about people and lead with skillful hands (Stallard N/A).” This describes Wooden. He believed that “effective leaders are first and foremost, good teachers (Wooden on Leadership 92). An integral part of how he valued people was by teaching those under his supervision how they could perform to the best of their ability, both as basketball players and as human beings, in ways that served the goals and vision of the team. He took a very scholarly approach to coaching his team because he wanted his players to understand why they were executing a play a certain way (Hill 96). To improve his players as athletes he would find what each member was good at, make them feel good about their role, then inspire them to want to do this role to the best of their ability. He would identify weaknesses and guide improvement to turn them into strength. Wooden was also known for breaking things down to the most basic and fundamental components and then making them second nature through repletion. Teaching is an essential part of leadership because a leader must teach those under his or her influence how to become united as a real team rather than a group of individuals who simply work at the same place for the same boss (94 Wooden leadership). Wooden was a master at this aspect of teaching and it is reflected by the success his teams ascertained over…show more content…
This type of teaching set John Wooden apart form other coaches because he was valuing his players for more than their athletic abilities. He was valuing their lives and wanted to instill upon them basic principles that would have a profound impact on how they did life after their athletic ventures beyond the confines of UCLA. One of the greatest things he taught his players was the notion of success. Wooden described success as, “a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming (Wooden and Carty 25). With this definition of success he emphasized to his players that he only judged their success on how close they came to realizing their full potential as a team thereby emphasizing to them that effort was the ultimate measure of success (Wooden on Leadership 12). Based on this unique idea of success, Wooden crafted his famous “Pyramid of Success,” which he ingrained into every player he coached. The values outlined in the pyramid were a visual and tangible way for Coach Wooden to teach his players the way to reach their own ultimate level of excellence as part of a team. The impact of the life skills that players learned under Wooden was profound. Take the example of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he pointed out the influence Coach

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