At the recent NFL coaching combine in Indianapolis the media was grilling Super Bowl Coach Jim Harbaugh. They were asking him about his methods for evaluating players and whether or not he found the one on one interviews revealing. An interesting point emerged as he replied.
Not even NFL coaches can predict the future.
Coach Harbaugh fooled the media he had no special gift for “sensing” whether a player would be successful or not. He said with a smile “I can’t look him in the eye and tell anything one way or the other. I don’t go by that. I look at the facts, their performance, videos of their games and make most of the evaluation based off that.” But, then he added something.
Harbaugh said he picked up an important tip from Judge Judy.
He said, “if you watch Judge Judy and if you ever see her catch someone in a lie, you know that person is not going to win the case.” He said “I like that and I operate the same way. If you’re wondering what I get out of one on one interviews, I can’t explain it all to you, but I can tell you that if a player ever lies to me, that player won’t stay on our team.” When you speak the truth you can change line, even though you don’t know they’re listening, even though you may not know this, if they hear your words and they really true you can change lives.
That’s a tip all leaders should adopt.
When you’re assembling, training and leading your team you have to make a lot of allowances for people. You can’t win by running off someone just because they make a mistake, even a big mistake in a big game. Who knows? They may learn from that and wind up winning a big game for years down the road. This is the reason most great leaders don’t like to have a lot of rules. Because when you have a rule you are required to enforce it and you wind up spending too much time being a policeman instead of a leader.
It’s a challenge to maintain team integrity and stay flexible.
Leaders wonder where the line is on being tough with their team. This is one of the areas where leaders constantly second guess themselves as they treat people as individuals. But there’s one rule all leaders can feel confident adopting as a unifying principle for their team. That rule is that you’ve got to tell the truth. Without that, there cannot be trust. People that lie must go. People who mess up but are honest about it can be redeemed. Those who hide it perpetuate the mistake and have to be removed.