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5 Leadership Lessons You Can Learn From Coach Carter

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Image Credit: Coach Carter

Kenneth Ray Carter is an American businessperson and education activist. He grew up in Richmond, California where he attended Richmond High School and set records in basketball. He loved sports like most young men but early on he learned the value of having a good education in life.

As fate would have it, he would go on to coach basketball at his former school with his son playing for him. His son Damien would go on to break the records he set – how amazing. The movie Coach Carter is based on his time as the basketball coach of Richmond High in the late 90s.

In the eyes of some, he was something of a controversial leader but he had a vision to change lives. He saw something special in his players, that they didn’t realize themselves and helped change their lives.

Here are 5 powerful leadership lessons you can learn from his life:

1. Set the tone from day one

The thing about leadership is that you have to be at least one step ahead of your followers. This is because you have the vision of where you want to lead them so it’s necessary that you stand out. At his first practice session, Coach Carter made it clear what he expected of his team to do. Communicating your expectations is one thing, and ensuring that they are met is another.

Coach Carter communicated his expectations to the team and threw out some of the players who didn’t want to cooperate. Doing that showed the rest of the team that he was serious about what he was doing which established his authority. Leaders who fail to back up their expectations with the corresponding action are ineffective and limit their potential.

2. Get rid of the bad apples

A team is only as strong as its weakest link, which affects the overall team dynamic. The way you handle bad apples on your team determines how the rest of the team members will see you. If you fail to deal decisively with bad apples, you will lose the respect of your top performers. When that happens it becomes difficult to accomplish anything significant with your team.

Getting rid of the troublesome individuals on the team cements your authority and earns you respect. Ken Carter did this regularly during his time as coach of the Richmond High basketball team. He dismissed players if they weren’t following instructions to maintain a good team dynamic. If you watch the short documentary about his tenure at Richmond, the common theme is he was a big disciplinarian.

As a leader, it’s not always easy taking extreme measures to get things done but sometimes it’s necessary. However, getting rid of bad apples gives you an opportunity to achieve your team goals and realize your full potential.

3. Embody your values

One of the things that Coach Carter wanted his team to understand was that there was more to life than basketball. For some of the players, winning championships felt like it would be the highlight of their lives. He constantly tried to make them see that apart from basketball, a good education would give them more opportunities in life.

Through his personal accomplishments and being a good citizen, it made his leadership a lot more authentic. Leaders who embody their values and preach what they practice, earn the respect of those that they lead. I guess that’s why to effectively lead others you need to successfully lead yourself first.

People don’t take you seriously if you’re a hypocrite who doesn’t do the things he expects of his team. If you realize that your team is a reflection of you, it will make you think differently about what you do. When you see things that you don’t like in your team, it may be good to check yourself as well.

“Now just because you deserve this doesn’t mean they’re gonna give it to you. sometimes you gotta take what’s yours.” – Coach Ken Carter

4. Lead with conviction

The most influential leaders lead with passion and conviction. Their enthusiasm is infectious and gets the rest of the team going in the same direction. People are emotional beings after all and are moved more by emotion than they are by logic. It doesn’t necessarily mean that all of them are loud but when they speak, others can feel their passion and intensity.

When you get your team members to feel what you feel, and you have the same heartbeat, amazing things happen. It’s almost impossible for anything to stop a team that speaks with one voice and has unity of purpose. Coach Carter was a pretty eloquent man and whatever he said carried weight. He exuded passion for hard work and commitment to achieve excellence in life.

5. Stand alone if necessary

The ultimate test of a leader is when they come face to face with the opposition without a backup squad by their side. When it seems like the whole world is against you, it’s easy to question your conviction and give up. Every leader at some point will go through this kind of situation and their response determines their ultimate destiny.

For the most part, Coach Carter’s players and their parents hated his rules regarding playing basketball. He went to the extent of banning basketball until his players improved their academic performance in the class. His stance drew national media attention and somewhat negative publicity. To make it worse, even the teachers were against his pro-education stance. It got to a point where he was willing to give up coaching because he couldn’t support the wrong values.

To his surprise, after it was voted that basketball should resume, his players decided to finish what he started. Instead of immediately going back to playing, they dedicated themselves to improving their grades as originally agreed. They finally did and continued playing basketball after that. Most of Coach Carter’s players went on to get scholarships to university as he had desired for them.

Sija Mafu is an Online Enthusiast and Personal Development Fan. His vision is to see young people take responsibility for their lives and create bright futures for themselves, their families and society at large. He runs the Motivated2Inspire blog to inspire young people to pursue their life purpose. Also check out his free training courses to set you up for a life of success.

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Success Advice

20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator

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Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.
 

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.

 

2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.

 

3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.

 

4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.

 

5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.

 

6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.

 

7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.

 

8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.

 

9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.

 

10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.

 

11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.

 

12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.

 

13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.

 

14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.

 

15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.

 

16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.

 

17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.

 

18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.

 

19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.

 

20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.

 

By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at AweBliss.com so you can master your life with more success.

 
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Strategic thinking helps CEOs build successful businesses. It helps them establish everlasting enterprises. It is one of the key elements of decision-making. It is different from strategic leadership. It differentiates between leaders from managers.  (more…)

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In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds on positive aspects and constructive activities. Sometimes we waste our precious time mentally and physically due to distractions arising out of technology. We must understand our priorities and learn how to focus on them religiously. (more…)

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