After 50 podcast episodes on leadership and sports

Today I published episode 50 of The All-Star Leader Podcast, a show where we interview experts and use sports to communicate leadership lessons. It seemed like a good time to reflect and share a few of the common themes.

Leadership vs. management. We heard it said in different ways: you manage things and lead people, you don’t need a title to lead, managers can lead or force compliance, etc. The bottom line of this theme is that you can (and should) lead from wherever you are, and waiting around for permission or a title is a mistake. Tom Schwab at Interview Valet really drove this one home.

Focus on the process. Great leaders don’t fixate on results, many of which are not entirely in their control. Rather they are laser focused on the process it will take to give the team a shot at those results. We heard this from Brian Biro and others channeling legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden as well as Grand Valley State’s Tim Selgo.

Give credit and take blame. As the leader, it’s all on you when things don’t go well. At least it should be. And when things go right? The team did that! We heard this over and over, and frankly this is one you can see play out when you watch the best leaders in sports at the podium after wins (dishing out credit to teammates) or losses (taking it all on their shoulders).

People first. Often times we can get caught up in making the sale, winning the game, getting the promotion, or making the list. But if we achieve our goals at the expense of relationships, the win is short-term and we are not set up to win long-term. Saxum CEO Renzi Stone talked about the vital importance of employees and clients, and West Coast Conference Commissioner Lynn Holzman shared that her job is essentially all about people.

Culture wins. We heard this in various forms from Antioch Community Church Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert, FieldHouse Leadership CEO Kevin DeShazo, Oklahoma Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione and several others. You have to establish your organization’s culture and communicate it over and over and over again, both in words, but most important, in deeds.

There were probably dozens of key leadership lessons I could have highlighted from the first 50 episodes, but these stood out to me for their frequency and emphasis from the guests. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 50!

You can listen weekly to The All-Star Leader Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. Below is the episode referenced above with West Coast Conference Commissioner Lynn Holzman. Enjoy!

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