Talking about basketball coaches, the most abused adjective is “demanding”.
So let’s talk about one of the most demanding ones: Ettore Messina, one of the best coaches in Europe.
Messina is an excellent coach, very “self-demanding” and he’s always trying to transmit this kind of approach to his players and team.
The assistant coach of Greg Popovich at San Antonio Spurs, in a famous video talks about the final goal of a coach and a leader who have to guide a working team.
In this video, he’s analyzing the relationship between a trainer and his athletes. Metaphorically speaking, this kind of relationship is not that far from the one a team leader or project manager can have with his colleagues. That is why we find the self-demanding philosophy so interesting.
Messina is aware of the hard work needed to achieve a self-demanding approach in his team. It’s not easy to be a leader who’s always asking for a bigger effort, he pretends respect of the rules, the right attention and a deep commitment to training.
Awareness is the central part of his speech: he says that all his moves are based on the will of getting things done in the way competition requires to (Basketball schemes in these case, but on a larger view, we can relate this approach to work).
How can we apply this perspective to a company environment?
Let’s start with a fundamental rule: watch out for details. Details are what distinguish an excellent project from an average one. Demand from your colleagues their best, without establishing a bossy attitude. They need to feel the responsibility to reach a good final result in everything they do. This way they can develop good projects respecting the high-level quality imposed by competition.
Further, in this video, Messina explains with great skills how a player/colleague should never take a boss request personally. A Coach has to be strict with his team for their professional growth. Being able to grant what our superior is demanding: offensive schemes or a deepened analysis, technical developments or new marketing ideas, can assure a full control of the situation and lead to an easy success.
It is important to fulfill specific requests, get used to work in a certain way and organize your daily job with a methodology that will let you face bigger projects, bigger pressure and bigger problems.
To reach great results and responsibilities we have to start with small steps and daily developments.
We can be role-model team leader only if we are able to transmit to other people this self-demanding approach to work.
If we want to win, commanding is not the right way to get things accomplished. We need to instill in our team the right work ethic and a needed awareness of their possible growth, both on a personal and professional level.
For the Italian coach, having a team mentally self-demanding is the real victory.
Developing this kind of mentality, a leader will have the best team possible and players willing to improve, both for the team sake and for their own career.
(Here’s the Video. It is in Italian)