What Does Soccer Have to do With Leadership?

I didn’t think I would learn about leadership as I learn to play soccer with the gals in  my new neighbourhood.  I see now that there is a lot of wisdom to tease out of this experience.

Here is the picture I noticed the other day:  my mate is battling the other team for the ball in front of our net.  My first instinct is to stay close by, to help my mate if she needs it, but that actually makes her job more difficult because there are too many players in a tight spot.  Though it seems counter intuitive, if I move away from my own net, I will bring both myself and a player from the other team out of the melee, making my mate’s task easier AND putting myself in a more open place to become a part of the play.

The meaning I made out of this?
  1. My mate will only do her best if I give her the space she needs.
  2. To give her the space she needs, I must trust she can do it.
  3. My worries about protecting our net harm my team’s ability to reach our goal.
  4. Trusting my mates makes me open to the play around me.
Sometimes my mate will succeed in getting the ball, sometimes not.  The same will happen to me.  The same will happen to our team. Ultimately, it is how we show up that has the most meaning – choosing trust is the ultimate success on any field.
(originally published March 25, 2009 at populuspractice.blogspot.com)
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