On Leadership

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you                                                                                                   Psalm 32:8

I have spoken to numerous groups over the years about leadership principles, and the integral characteristics of leadership. One of the examples I give is that of Dean Smith, the legendary coach of the University of North Carolina basketball team for many years. Coach Smith was a winning basketball coach. That is like saying “the sun is hot”. He won 879 games in his storied career, as well as two national championships, an NIT Championship (when that meant something), and an Olympic gold medal. The list of his basketball accomplishments could take this whole blog, so I will suffice it to say, this Hall of Fame Coach, was really good at coaching basketball.

More than his basketball coaching prowess was his great leadership ability. The young men he coached would come back to visit him year after year, attesting to his impact on their life, and not just their basketball life- their life. Dean Smith cared about the young men he coached, and they knew it.

One of the touching and impactful things he did was to set aside money in his will to give a check for $200 to each of the former lettermen that he coached for those 36 years at North Carolina. A letter went to each of those men after his death, stating “Enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith.”

Dean Smith demonstrated a lesson even after his death. You care about the people whom you lead, and you remember them. Great leaders are selfless, thoughtful people who continue to teach, even after they are gone.

Thank you, Dean Smith for those lessons. Leaders like you are hard to come by.

Prayer: Father, thank you for examples of how to care for the people that we lead and mentor, Amen.

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