Learning from John Wooden on controlling your emotions


As a leader,  keeping your emotions in check  is of huge importance.  It role models wise behavior for your followers. It also instills confidence in them as they see that you are not going to be shaken up by surprising or challenging circumstances.  Being in control  also prevents having to do repair work for something that was said or done in an emotional outburst.

I found this excerpt about John Wooden, legendary former coach of the UCLA basketball team  from the book “The Intangibles of Leadership” by Richard A. Davis PhD to be motivational for me:  Wooden -coaching picture

“John continued to build on his mantra of equanimity, insisting to his players that they must behave the same whether winning by ten or losing by twenty , He demanded intensity, but punished emotionality, enforcing composure both in his players and himself. He gave no rah-rah speeches or contrived pep talks. His players were prohibited from exulting after scoring on an opponent or brooding after being scored on themselves. he told them if they let their emotions take over, they would be outplayed , and if they were outplayed, they would be outscored. He maintained the same posture in a preseason game as he did in a national championship. After following either one, he made sure to conduct himself in such a manner that one could rarely tell whether his team had won or lost.
-The formula worked wonders . John’s team won the Indiana collegiate conference title in 1947 and received an invitation to the national tournament in Kansas City. But John refused , citing the tournament’s policy banning African American players. Thanks, he responded but no thanks. I and my players, Clarence Walker included, would rather not participate.”


How are you doing in the area of controlling your emotions?

If this is an area of challenge for you, is there someone who you can mention your struggle with and hold you accountable?

When is the last time you took inventory of yourself in the area of how you are doing in controlling your emotions?  If its been awhile, could this be a blind spot for you?


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