Wooden Wins!- Initiative
Our pyramid of success focus this month will be on Initiative. At American Heritage Charter Schools we celebrate the core value of “Leading with Courage.”
Why Initiative Is an Essential Leadership Trait by Craig Impelman
On the second tier of the Pyramid of Success is initiative, a valuable character trait for a leader, and an essential quality for any team if they are going to perform at their highest capacity.
A great leader not only has initiative as an individual character trait, but also coaches their team or organization in a manner that creates and encourages initiative from all team members.
A great leader creates new leaders.
Coach John Wooden described the importance of giving his players the ability to take initiative:
“Do not tie them down so rigidly that you take away their initiative. They must have some freedom of movement, but must react to the initiative of a teammate in order to keep floor balance.
“Give players the opportunity to achieve without the fear of failure.”
The communication style of the leader will either encourage or discourage initiative by the people they supervise. In the book How to Be Like Coach Wooden by Pat Williams, Wooden described his method:
“I never wanted to teach through fear, punishment or intimidation. Pride is a better motivator than fear.
“Fear may work in the short-term to get people to do something, but over the long run, I believe personal pride is a much greater motivator. It produces far better results that last for a much longer time.”
The leader encourages initiative when they hold people accountable and correct rather than criticize. In his book with Jay Carty, Coach Wooden One-on-One, Wooden describes the difference:
“Criticism and correction differ especially when it comes to methods and motives. Criticism puts someone down. Correction means I want to help.
“Be slow to correct and quick to commend. No one likes correction, but we learn from it. If we commend before we correct, the person will accept the correction better. But we must listen before we correct. There is usually another side to every story. If we listen to others, they will be more apt to listen to us.
“It is very important how correction is given. We must be careful how we do it. We don’t want those being corrected to lose face. Here are some good tips: Make it meaningful, but use judgment. Don’t fly off the handle and be quick to correct. Do it with tact. If we just let fly, it is more likely to be viewed as criticism than as correction.
“Approval is a greater motivator than disapproval, but we have to disapprove on occasion when we correct. It’s necessary. I only make corrections after I have proved to the individual that I highly value them. If they know we care for them, our correction won’t be seen as judgment. I also tried to never make it personal.”
The leader who encourages initiative has faith in people. They believe in them, and thus draw out the best in them. If the initiative of the team member produces fruitful results, the leader gives away the credit. If it doesn’t, the leader takes the blame.
As Wooden would often remind us, “It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one is concerned with who gets the credit.”
Key Idea: “Criticism and correction differ especially when it comes to methods and motives. Criticism puts someone down. Correction means I want to help.” —John Wooden
@Home We can be a helpful guide as our children learn to navigate the struggles, challenges, and choices of life. Here are a few ideas for building initiative and responsibility:
Model and teach your child how to do things
Encourage your child to do things by themselves
Stop yourself from fixing your child’s mistakes or doing their work
Teach your child to be a problem solver
Be patient and encouraging
As educators, we know the importance of taking initiative. It's a trait that we encourage our students to develop and one that we should embody ourselves. By taking initiative, we demonstrate leadership, create opportunities, and show our commitment to our students and our profession.
Initiative means being proactive, taking action, and making decisions. As a member of our school campus staff, taking initiative means actively seeking ways to improve the educational and social experience for our students. It means being willing to step outside of our comfort zones and take risks in order to create a better environment.
When we take initiative, we demonstrate to our students the importance of being proactive, rather than reactive. We model for them the leadership qualities that they will need to develop in order to succeed in life.
Reflection question: In what ways can you take initiative to improve the experiences for our students, and what steps can you take to make it happen?
In the Class
Activity: Watch the Video (https://vimeo.com/471426447) and Discuss as a Class.
Class Response: Discuss ways you can help others and take initiative.
On the Field
Activity: Play Call - Team Service Project (See Example: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xSPYyOPa8Csbr0t10gkkGAvsxF_7DnCJiMPKqxabX88/)
Team Response: As a team discuss when we are passive on the field or court. What happens when we are passive in life?