For those of you who didn’t watch the Women’s NCAA Final Four basketball games, you really missed out. All three games were nail biters. I am a Notre Dame fan (for those who don’t already know) and have followed the Lady Irish basketball since their last championship in 2001 (17 years to the day before the one Sunday night). This year’s team struggled with injuries during the year – the joke was that ND had more ACL injuries than losses for the year. This forced some younger players into the spotlight and often these players had to play the full 40 minutes of the game – a complex coaching situation and exhausting on the players! No one really expected ND to make it to the Final Four, yet they did. The leadership of Lady Irish coach, Muffet McGraw, is why this team was successful. Under her leadership, the program has been successful on the court, but more important is the impact Coach McGraw has made on the women she had coached. The following quotes come from team members and apply not only to coaching sports but to coaching teams in the workplace as well.
- “I think her toughness always guides you in the right direction, but it’s always accompanied by the opportunity to perform, the opportunity to reach your potential, the encouragement, the belief the confidence and, so I think it’s a perfect balance.” – Ruth Riley
- “I could have the worst day of my career and I could have the best game of my career, and she always had this undeniable confidence in me.” – Kayla McBride
- “I think a big part in society as a whole, actually now, is not only having the conscience to do the right thing, but also having the guts to do and say the right things and I think she has both of those.” – Natalie Achonwa
- “You want to make the team better, but remembering and having the confidence to remind yourself that you are you and you are there for a reason…she’s just taught me so much in my life.” – Natalie Achonwa
These quotes from players highlight McGraw’s toughness and competitiveness but more forcefully, her thoughtfulness, kindness, and integrity. What makes you and your company inspire performance for each member of your team?