Play-Calling vs. Playing

In the past few days, I’ve been playing with the idea of leading from anywhere on the field.

As the great coaches show, it’s very possible to lead effectively from the sidelines. There’s real talent and skill in seeing the field, communicating your vision, and teaching people to play better.

Yet there’s a different kind of leadership that happens between the sidelines. It’s not about “do this” or “have you thought about it this way?”, but simply “follow me!”

Some people are more inclined toward one type of leadership or another. I often prefer the broad perspective of the sidelines, but I’m coming to recognize that perspective can come at the price of aloofness.

Luckily, I have an opportunity to spend a month on the field. And while I’d love to put a few points on the board, I’m most focused on simply staying on the field.

Calling plays takes courage, there’s no doubt about that. But if you’re in the play-calling business, it’s worth facing live contact sometimes, too.

(It’s also worth remembering that it’s called play. A lot of people play to win, thinking that will bring joy. But playing for joy might be an even bigger win.)