John Wooden Quotes: Recipe for a Great Leader

How can you train and develop young leaders using Coach Wooden's recipe for great leadership?

During his tenure at UCLA, College Basketball Coach, John Wooden, won 10 national championships and helped hundreds of young people develop their leadership potential and values. Nationally-acclaimed speaker, longtime Associate Editor of Sports Illustrated, and best-selling author, Don Yaeger, spent years under Coach Wooden's mentorship, learning about and discussing leadership and what makes great teams great. In this video, Don shares John Wooden's quotes, specifically Coach Wooden's "recipe for creating great leaders." First, Coach Wooden believed that a leader must be able to teach others in way that they actually learn. Next, great leaders need to continually learn. By being a student, a leader can remain open to new and exciting challenges and work to discover innovative ways of resolving problems. Another essential ingredient of great leaders is the ability to guide and nurture like a parent. But the final ingredient that Don shares is the one Coach Wooden felt was most important of all. Watch and learn if you have all the ingredients for great leadership style! And discover how you can train and develop your team using the recipe from one of the greatest leaders of our time, Coach John Wooden. Who is one of your most inspirational mentors? Share and tag him or her in our comments below or on our Leadercast Facebook page! Watch this and other videos on training and development on Leadercast today!
Coach John Wooden, who was the greatest coach of all time, greatest basketball coach of all time, he was at UCLA, won 10 national championships. I once asked him about if he had to write out a recipe card for a great leader, what would that recipe card look like? And he had a handful of actual ingredients that he would put on the card. Number one, he believed that every great leader has to be a teacher. So he has to be thought of as willing to teach, and John Wooden used to say all the time, "You have not taught until they have learned." As a teacher, how often do we think, "Oh, I told my employees to do that, or I explained that to my children"? But the truth is you have not taught until they have learned. So if you say, "I'm going to be a teacher," you have to invest yourself in making sure that they will learn. Secondly, he would say, "You have to be a student." Coach Wooden was amazing in this idea. Now think about this. He coached back in pre-Google days, before you could look things up really easily. But every year, at the end of every season, and remember he had four seasons where he finished undefeated, won the national championship. But at the end of every season he would gather his coaches and they would say, "What on our team could we have done better? Where could we have been . . . What could we learn that might make us better next year?" You just finished undefeated. You won the national championship. Instead of patting themselves on the back, they're looking for where they could improve. And then they would identify a team and a coach that might have done what they're looking at achieving better than they did. Like it could be free throw shooting in the fourth quarter or in the last two minutes of the game. Coach Wooden would handwrite a letter to that coach, and he would say, "My name is John Wooden. I'm the head basketball coach at UCLA, and I'm just wondering. I'm really impressed by the way your team conducts itself for the last two minutes of a game. Could I come learn from you?" Imagine getting a letter like that from John Wooden. The master of your profession says, "I want to come learn from you." John Wooden was a student to the day he died. He believed that every leader has to be a parent in their own way. By that, he doesn't mean actually a parent, but what he means is you have to have the empathy of a parent. You have to be willing to understand what it is that the person that's working with you is dealing with in their life. So anyway, he wrote out this recipe card. It was really fun, and it was engaging. But then, at the end of it, he stirred it all with passion. He said, "You can put these ingredients together, but if you don't have a passion for taking the team you have -- not the team you wish you had, but the team have -- if you don't have a passion for taking that team to do something special, it doesn't matter. You'll never be a great leader.

Don Yaeger

Don Yaeger is a nationally acclaimed inspirational speaker and author of 24 books, nine of which have become New York Times best-sellers. He is currently a Forbes contributing writer and a former associate editor for Sports Illustrate...

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