Socks, Shoe Laces, and Leadership Fundamentals

March Madness is fast approaching, and every year as it becomes time for fans to start cheering for their teams and picks, I’m reminded of a blog I once wrote. It was about John Wooden, the former head coach of the UCLA Bruins Basketball team.

Coach Wooden has been referred to as the greatest coach of the 20th century because of his ability to teach the fundamentals.

fundamental behaviors
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Not only did Coach Wooden teach his players the mechanics of passing the basketball and running plays, he also taught them a very basic skill that was commonly overlooked: properly putting on their socks and tying their shoes.

I know this sounds very basic, and it is. 

What Coach Wooden understood, was that when a player’s socks were wrinkled and/or their shoelaces were not double-knotted, the end result would be blistered feet, potential injuries, and time out of the game. He saw a simple fix, implemented it, and consequently led the Bruins to ten NCAA national championships.

So, what does this have to do with you as a leader?

Well, I would like to pose the question of whether or not you are putting on your socks properly and tying your shoes in double knots when you step into your world of leadership.

In other words, are you practicing the basic interpersonal behaviors that influence the difference between employee engagement and trust? 

Are you communicating directly, practicing blameless problem-solving, listening to understand, and honoring commitments?

Photo courtesy of GraphicStock

It’s the leader’s interpersonal behaviors of genuine interest in the growth, development, and well-being of their employees that fuel productivity and, ultimately, the company’s profitability.

If you struggle to practice fundamental behaviors (i.e., you have wrinkles in your socks and shoelaces that keep coming untied), it’s not too late to get back to the basics, and I can help you do just that. Similar to the feelings we get during March Madness, leadership comes with excitement, upsets, defeats, and celebrations. Let me help you come alive with possibility and hope by learning how to create fundamental behaviors and a team culture of high performance.

About the author 

Bonnie Artman Fox, MS, LMFT works with executive leaders who want to gain self-awareness about the impact of their words and actions and up-level their interpersonal skills. 

Drawing from decades as a psychiatric nurse and licensed family therapist, Bonnie brings a unique perspective to equip executive leaders with the roadmap to emotional intelligence that brings teams together. 

Bonnie’s leadership Turnaround coaching program has an 82% success rate in guiding leaders to replace abrasive behavior with tact, empathy, and consideration of others. The end result is a happy, healthy, and profitable workplace…sooner vs. later.