He told me to close the door as I stepped into his office. It was a massive room. On one side were two leather couches and a pair of lounge chairs surrounding a coffee table. On the other side was a desk large enough to survive at sea for a week if necessary.
Trophies lined the shelves. A private bathroom with a closet and shower discreetly tucked around the corner. Coaching college football has its advantages.
I clicked the door shut behind me. The coach sank into his chair behind the desk. I sat in a chair across from him. A deep scowl slid down his face.
He wasn't acting himself. Something was clouding his mind—a problem heavy enough to take an emotional toll. I wasn't sure if he just wanted to talk it out or wanted help. He mostly needed someone he could trust.
He explained recent developments in a situation that had gone from bad to worse. It was a chaotic mess. The kind you want to throw into a bottomless well. And he was right in the middle of it. Coaching college football has its drawbacks.
I listened intently. When he finished, I shared, "Damn. Tough situation.", allowing a slightly longer than normal pause to sit between us before adding, "Thankfully, it's you dealing with it and not someone else."
"Excuse me?! What do you mean? This is the last thing I want."
"I know that.", I assured him, "But I also know you and what kind of leader you are. A lesser leader would allow their frustration to get the best of them. They would resent the people involved and react impulsively. If this situation fell at their feet, they would undoubtedly make it worse. Then they would make excuses blaming everyone else. But it didn't fall at their feet. It fell on your capable and competent shoulders. Other people may not recognize how fortunate that is, but I do. You may not feel that way right now, but I'm thankful you are responsible for this rather than a less willing leader."
His scowl eased and his body relaxed. He smirked. "I've never thought of it that way."
"Most people don't.", I agreed. "But the most responsible and disciplined people do. And that's exactly the leader you are."
The time is now. Do the work.
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Brian Kight is a multi-industry leader on the topics of leadership, culture, and behavior. He provides simple systems that produce exceptional results for organizations, teams, and people.