2 Principles on Being an Excellent Leader

I’m forty-something years old (really, I’ve forgotten the number) and somewhat confident in what I can do.  The ref was still wiping Cheerios from her bib but she was the one the league chose for my daughter’s volleyball game.  I’ve line judged for games before, many times in fact.  But this youngster ref wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing.

So a few minutes before the game she pulled me aside and “quizzed” me on my flag motions.  In front of a crowd, she said, “Ball is in – what do you do?”  I casually pointed my flag diagonally to the ground.  She shook her head.  She wanted a sharp, intentional movement.  I had to do it again.  Then another move.  Then another.  It was rather embarrassing being schooled by this toddler in front of my peers.

During the game however, it dawned on me that even though she was young, even though she took time to make sure I “got it – the right way,” her insistence on excellence made me a better at what I was doing.

Here are two lessons from my experience that can help your leadership:

  1. Work with your team to be excellent, even though it’s uncomfortable at first.  Those few moments of being uncomfortable paid off when I needed to perform.  Don’t be afraid to practice excellence with your team.
  2. Make adjustments and corrections along the way.  During the time-out’s, she would tell me if the angle of my flag wasn’t quite correct when I made certain calls.  Little corrections makes for excellence.

In the end, my daughters team won.  And so did I.  All because of a young ref who wanted this old-time-line-judge to be the best.

Question:  How have you become a more excellent leader?


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