Let me tell you a story from Dr. David Cook, performance psychologist.
In 1995 the women’s volleyball team at the University of Nebraska was ranked No. 1. Their team had some amazing talent. Five of the girls were all-American caliber players and then there was Kate. Kate was an awesome girl, but she was the weak link on the team. She often played out of position somewhat and she had some unorthodox moves on the court.
The pressure was immense on the team and their coach. He considered several times whether to take Kate out of the first-string lineup.
He consulted with Dr. Cook and shared his dilemma. Do I take Kate out and play a lesser experienced player, or what?
Dr. Cook listened, said some good stuff, and then concludedwith this one. “Game day is all about sowing seeds of trust. Instill in your players seeds of belief and faith as their leader.”
The coach said he would mull over what Dr. David had said and make his final decision the next day.
The next day, as the girls prepared for their championship match, the coach walked onto the court and went straight up to Kate. He put his arm around her, looked her in the eye and said, “Kate, I believe in you. I trust you.. You’re awesome. You’ve gonna have a great game. This is what it’s all about. This is what we’ve all been working for. Have fun today, Kate.”
And then he went to each of the other girls and gave each of them their private words of encouragement and esteem.
Kate was surprised by his comments, and her posture changed. She had tears in her eyes, and she knew something was different.
The match began.
Kate had one of the most unbelievable games of her life. She had averaged about1.4 kills per game. In this final championship game she had 25 kills singlehandedly. She had 21 digs and saves to go with it. She single-handedly annihilated the University of Texas in that match. She was named MVP for that championship game.
A celebration broke out as the game ended. Emotions were flowing. The girls were crying. It was a triumphant moment.
Remember … Kate was the girl the coach wanted to take out of the lineup. He felt she was a weak link and should be replaced.
Finally the coach saw Kate. She was still crying. He ran up to her and lifted her chin, looked into her eyes and said, “Kate, you were so special today. You set an NCAA record for a playoff game. And it’s all because of you Kate. What made the difference?”
Kate looked back at the coach, and through tears and a shaky voice she said, “Coach, It’s the first time you trusted me.”
Wow, that is an awesome thing to say.
You trusted me.
Maybe you’re not a coach but you lead a team. And if you have a player who is certainly capable but is performing at less than his/her best, what do you do?
Do you communicate trust? Does this potential star really “feel” your trust, your confidence and your respect?
It’s an ago old adage – People can tell whether you care or not.
It is H U G E for leaders. It is so important that we let those we lead know of our trust, our belief, and yes, our love for them as a human being and the potential contribution they can make.
But first we value the individual.
Value the individual.
Win whatever your game may be by valuing the individual.
P Michael Biggs
One Word at a Time