What’s Love Got to Do With It?

The greatest honor that comes with being a leader is the opportunity to impact the lives of the people you are leading. Impacting them in such a way that your positive influence touches every area of their life. It increases the value they add in their professional career to their teammates and customers…increases the value they add to their relationships at home and in their community and it provides an example for the power of paying it forward.

See, I think you would be hard pressed to look into the background of any successful leader and not find at least one person who made a positive impact in their life. Someone who believed in them more than they believed in themselves at times. Someone who genuinely cared about them as a person and was also comfortable with holding them accountable.

For many of us that person is often an athletic coach. Regardless of the sport, the great coaches have a way to get to their people — touching their minds and their hearts. They are the ones that do not pound themselves on the chest to tell you how great they are because they are too busy picking people up as they realize it is all about what you give not the attention you get.

Great coaches want to develop the complete person and not just the athlete and they care just as much about the growth of the person sitting at the end of their bench as they do for their superstar. They teach that if you work hard enough, long enough, and smart enough good things will happen.

The elite coaches do things the right way, for the right reasons, and at the right time.

I was blessed to not only play high school basketball for an elite coach, but to also be able to call him Dad.

It only took us 11 years after his retirement, but we finally put together a golf outing and it was not to honor him, but rather to get the guys back together to catch up and have a few thousand laughs. We even named it after one of the most brutal drills he ever ran, the alley drill.

There were guys from the west coast and guys from east coast, guys who got up at the crack of dan to get there — one flying standby from Omaha and one driving up from Central Illinois.

There was a former Commanding Officer and Executive Officer for Naval Air Station Oceana, a successful high school girls basketball coach, executive recruiters, financial planners, business owners, and an array of other successful professionals.

These guys are all successful and they still carry themselves with the edge which was required to play in the Palatine Basketball program for four years. Confident not cocky, selfless, confident, comedians, and an abundance of positive energy.

And each one spoke about the impact that coach had, and still has on them as they want on to share stories about things, he did for them during times of success and times of struggle.

As things were winding down, I hugged a former teammate who is an extremely successful businessman and he asked me what the key was to my Dad being able to have such an impact on so many people’s lives for such a long period of time.

The answer was simple as I told him what allowed him to be so successful and to impact the people involved in his business was the very same driver of the impact my Dad had on his players.


Love what you do.

Love who you do it with.

Love who you do it for.

Love for What You Do

The leaders who have the greatest impact on their people have an absolute passion for what they do. That does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that they love everything about their job. Not close.

For example, when I was coaching college basketball I did not always love some of the things that went on inside the recruiting process but I loved building the relationships with the kids, as well as their parents, coaches and other folks who were a part of their inner circle.

Recognize the opportunity you have each day to help your people grow and achieve things that maybe they thought they were not capable of. Appreciate the fact that they are going to lean into you for leadership.

Love Who You Do It With

Who are you in the trenches with? Be intentional about identifying everyone who is on your team. When I say everyone, I mean everyone. The receptionist, support staff, your team, and your family.

Think about the teams you have been a part of that were truly special. Teams that you knew you were better for being a part of and that feeling you had for each other. Again, it doesn’t always mean it was unicorns and rainbows, you went through some trying times, disagreed and grew together. But at the end of the day you loved working together and you cared about each other.

Love Who You Do It For

Loving who you do it for will get you through some pretty challenging times as well as to stay aligned with your values and mission.

So, who do you do it for?

You are not only impacting your employees, your team and your customers — you are impacting their families and friends as well.

When you lead with love you do things the right way, for the right reasons and you try like heck to do it at the right time. This  will help you make decisions quicker with more confidence…make yourself vulnerable…develop a self-confidence that is contagious…operate with a positive energy that your team can feel…lead authentically…grow through adversity, learn from failure and sustain success…drive culture that is the foundation of a resilient organization.

And — it provides you the opportunity to make an IMPACT that will last a lifetime.


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