The captain of a collegiate sports team called me one day after a practice. I heard the frustration in his voice immediately. “How do you get people to listen? They’re not listening!”

It was a new season and some of the better players had graduated. Some of the other returning players didn’t have the same work ethic that was there before so the captain tried to yell them into a work ethic. At the time I couldn’t give him the answer he needed, so I said “I don’t know”. He wanted an answer that would correct the issue right away and I couldn’t give one.

If I were to hear that question today, I don’t think I would have a different answer but I would share this instead.

Imagine that you were watching a film in a movie theater and you wanted them to go watch it so you took a picture of screen to share it with your friends. You take it to them and ask “can’t you feel the emotions of this film?

Well, of course they can’t. It’s the same way if you’re trying to get them to show some work ethic. You’re not going to get them to feel strong about it because you shared what it is like, you’ll have to journey with them through their process of getting it.

Often, with young adults they believe that leadership is just telling people what to do and where to go. But that’s like just reading the title of a film.

Often, with young adults they believe that leadership is just diagnosing what is going wrong. But that’s like sitting in a movie theater talking over the film.

To really embrace what leadership is asking, is for you to be a cast member in the film and begin wherever the journey is at and walk through the process to the end that you would like. There are only two types of people that would do that: a person who already made the journey or a person who is willing to risk failure to make the journey.

Just like in a movie you have to get to know the characters and their motivations for the journey to make sense. You have to battle through miscommunications and still be friends afterwards. You have to share your dreams with each other. That’s why your program most likely does many team building activities.

If you are a captain or aspire to be one, and you find yourself in this kind of situation, understand that real lasting change doesn’t happen quickly like a magic trick. But if you’re willing to walk with your team through the moments when yall aren’t showing up, you would have made a major impact IN your sports program.

You wouldn’t want someone to use a snapshot of you at your worst knowing that you still have more life to live. You wouldn’t want them to sit back, watch and spread that picture as who you’ll be forever right? Who are the people that you would respect the most if that were happening to you? Wouldn’t they be the people who are riding with you? And those would be the people you would allow to speak into your life.

Well when it comes to your sports team and leadership…Don’t watch, join!

© 2018, Ira Webbe Jr all rights reserved

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