Since the fall of 2005, my husband Tom has been coaching high school football. He, like so many other coaches have just the sort of background that goes with the traditional job title. He has extensive knowledge about the game, captained his college team and even coached The Hill School to the MAPL league championship. All of which has stood him in good stead to lead the Perkiomen School’s football program.
Given this season’s success (6-2), it is not surprising that he commands attention on the field as he talks X’s and O’s to a diverse team filled with raw talent. There is much more to this hard-driving high school football coach who values the relationship with his players of key importance. According to Tom, his role as the leader is to build the team, inspire them to perform at their best and
develop the “whole” individual for life off the field — an approach similar to compassionate leadership.
In the book, Compassionate Leadership, Manley Hopkinson suggests that leadership is less about telling people what they need to do than about forming a relationship with them so that they motivate themselves to do what is required. Compassionate leadership is the art of enabling people to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and through that a better understanding of others leading to more effective business and personal relationships.
But at the heart of this approach are the “Big Five” values of Compassionate Leadership:
1. Awareness – is that nothing else can happen if you are blind to yourself and others.
2. Courage – is being true to yourself regardless of the circumstances, to live your own life and dreams.
3. Confidence – is the self-belief that “you can and will make it work.”
4. Joy – is found in the journey, not the destination — so feel and find joy in being a leader.
5. Compassion – is having the peripheral vision to see others and help them along the journey of awareness, courage, confidence and joy.
On Friday, the Perkiomen School football team will play their final game of the season. Beyond the realm of athletics, their coach will continue instilling the values of awareness, courage, confidence, joy and compassion as he intently transforms their lives off the field.
How will you lead?