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“I have your back”

Last night I had the pleasure of attending my first Women’s Wheelchair Basketball game at the University of Illinois. I have become friends with the head coach, Stephanie Wheeler, and I was thrilled that it worked out in my schedule for myself and some of my players to attend the game.

While this sport is very different from the sport I coach, NCAA DII college soccer, there was so much we were able to learn from watching one game! The thing that stood out right away was the communication on the court. Because of the way their wheelchairs move and spin there are many times in the game when they are not able to see the ball. Constant verbal communication was paramount to success. One of the phrases we heard players saying throughout the game was “I have your back”. This one phrase made me smile. There is nothing I believe more in regards to leadership than the idea that great leaders always have your back!

I also thought about how difficult it is for a team, organization or company to be successful when everyone is looking in the same direction. While we need to be moving in the same direction we don’t always need to be looking in the same direction. Successful teams often have different people looking in different directions to prevent or manage trouble or to be able to see other opportunities that might be coming from another direction. Perspective, and communicating that perspective does make a difference. Can you really have someone’s back when you are all lined-up side by side facing the same direction? Who in your circle of influence do you count on to have your back, who’s back do you have and how do you communicate that with those people?

Great leaders will always have your back.