Nick Saban is one of the most successful coaches of all time.
His Alabama football team has been one of the most successful programs in recent decades.
He was giving a press conference and he was revealing some great insight into coaching that also lends itself well for managers and other leaders.
In this clip he talks about how there is a discipline in coaching where you have to coach the players enough in practice so they know what to do, but also holding back so they can learn to fend for themselves. Because once they’re in the game they won’t have a coach on the field telling them what to do.
He said he learned that from Bill Belichick, one of the most successful NFL coaches ever.
For a manager, it’s about having the discipline to avoid micromanaging everything your team does. You hire them for a reason. To do a job. You can’t do everything. You hire them. You teach them what the job is and how to do it and then you have to let them figure it out.
There are some caveats, but that’s pretty much it.
Leadership is needed to let the person know what the job is. What’s expected of them. You need to check-in on a regular schedule to assess results. Maybe it’s quarterly or monthly or whatever. But it’s not constantly and it’s not randomly.
That check-in schedule is also the time for questions and answers. You want to be available to help, but not so much so that the person becomes reliant on you to handle everything for them. You want them to be able to make more and more decisions. You want them to fail and learn so they improve and get better while they’re in the trenches.
Because you can’t be there all the time. If it’s a salesperson, for example, they will be on phone calls with potential clients. They will get questions that they haven’t experienced before. You want them to be able to work it out themselves without needing you to fall back on.
The better football teams, it seems, setup programs that work like this. They have sessions where they explain what’s expected. They have drills so there is repetition and practice with coaches there to provide feedback. Then they scrimmage and let the players make mistakes, learn and react on their own without coaches.
All that so that when the players are in the game and definitely on their own that they’re more likely to make the right decisions.
Look to setup the same type of processes in your organization. Provide enough training so that your employees can learn and then learn to be self reliant, but also with regular check-ins so you can assess results and provide answers to questions so there is continuous improvement.