Friday, January 23, 2009

Beyond good followership – Leaders step up

Last night we had the opportunity to watch the West Virginia Mountaineers upset the Georgetown Hoyas on their home court in WDC. It was a close game, but the Mountaineers broke it open by ten points in the second half and held on.

As a youth basketball coach (ok Triple Threat – this is your plug!), I know the importance of teaching the teamwork, sportsmanship and hard work in addition to the fundamentals of basketball। Kids watch how the coaches act and react to situations. The best coaches leave an indelible impression on the players they lead.

A colleague from the UK emailed me this Fox News story today and I had to contrast it to the post earlier this week on the importance of good followership (Followership - a leadership story).

Last week, a private Christian school in Dallas, Covenant, defeated the Dallas Academy girls basketball team 100-0 (Fox News link)। Why is it so easy to see the problem with this and yet the coaches of Covenant could not at the time? Afterwards, Covenant did ask the league to pull the game result and ask it to be converted to a forfeit. This is just too late. There are times when a good follower stands up for what is right.

If you want a positive example of players doing what is right – observe the Central Washington University women’s softball team.

When have you seen followers take the risk and stand up for what is right?


Anonymous said...


Wow, great post and even better discussion question. Being a youth coach myself, I understand and appreciate the "messages" that we send out in coaching moves whether they be arguing a questionable call or making an effort to get everyone adequate playing time. We must be extremely cautious of our actions and always remember why we are there (for me its for the positive contribution to a child's life).

Onto your question, I can give you another example of when I have seen followers NOT take a risk and stand up for what is right is the GITMO fiasco. Those men and women that disgraced the United States of America by those despicable actions are a perfect example of what you are talking about. I was not there but I am sure that there were others who did not participate and were disgusted by the actions of others but were cowards and failed to report it. Leadership is about doing the right thing even when it might not be the popular thing. Here is a thought. Being a good follower has far greater challenges in the sense that it would be more difficult of a task of calling out a leader's wrongs and defending the position with the potential or risk of being ridiculed or even removed (fired) from the group.

My two cents ...

John Bishop said...

Today on World News with Charles Gibson I heard him say that the coach of Covenant was fired by his school. Interestingly he still did not understand what he had done wrong and said his team played with integrity.



Karl Waggoner said...

We do have a tendency in the U.S. to glorify winning above character. What I find interesting is that a post-modern society that says all morality is relative seems to be universally rankled at Covenant's actions and inspired by the actions of the CWU softball team. That said, the actions of the followers were reflections of the leaders they were under, in my estimation.

John Bishop said...

Thanks Karl,

I must admit, I hate to lose in sports, but I can share soon I'll re-share an old posting about how my last undefeated youth hoop team lost the championship game in style. We called a double time out with 6 seconds left, down by 20 and had the kids go to the sidelines and thanks their parents for letting them play. They got a round of applause from both sides. Everyone left feeling ok.


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