A Prerequisite for All Leaders

“They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” -said Teddy Roosevelt.

I’ve had the privilege of coaching youth basketball for almost four years. Over the four years, I’ve seen outstanding coaches & below-average coaches.

Being an outstanding youth basketball coach has nothing to do with Xs and Os. It involves caring about the human being first, before the athlete.

Photo by juan pablo rodriguez on Unsplash

What does caring look like?

Before every practice, outstanding coaches do their best to connect with every athlete that walks into the room. Hi *insert name* — and then asks them a question.

If the question is the typical, “how are you?” That’s nonsense. You can ask, hey *insert name* how are you? And don’t let them give you a bogus answer.

But working with youth ages (4–18), I like to ask fun questions.

“What’s your favorite food? What video games do you like to play? How do you spend your free time outside of basketball?”

It’s the same with adults too. Although I’ve learned as a curious cat; not everyone wants to share their whole life story, you can find common ground.

I have a co-worker of mine who likes to keep to himself. But, I also know that he opens up as soon as I ask him a question about the latest drama in the NBA.

Caring looks like knowing your team members, whether they are athletes, coaches, or colleagues.

Caring looks like giving everyone on your team knucks or a high five — a simple way of saying, “I see you, and I recognize your humanity.”

Don’t act like you care if you don’t, people can read right through that.

But I genuinely believe that if you want to have a positive impact or influence on people, you have to care!

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. How do you usually greet people when they “walk in the door?”
  2. How often do you spend time getting to know your team?
  3. What questions could you start asking your team to get to know them better?

Connect with me if you want to share other thoughts about starting on the caring.

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Coach Furtado

Writing about leadership, teamwork, and human development through the lens of sports.