On Monday night, the University of Connecticut and the University of Kentucky will face each other in college basketball’s national championship game. When the game tips off, it will be the highest combined seeds ever to play in the championship game. Connecticut was a #7 seed and Kentucky a #8 seed. Neither was expected to make it to the final game.
Less than a month ago, on March 8, both teams played their last games of the regular season. Kentucky traveled to the University of Florida and lost by 21 points. Connecticut went to the University of Louisville and was beaten soundly by a score of 81-48. It was just coincidence of course that both teams suffered their worst losses of the season on the same day, less than 30 days ago. And Monday night they will face each other in the biggest game of the college basketball season.
The resiliency of these teams can teach us a great lesson about leadership. It would have been understandable for the coaches and players of Connecticut and Kentucky to feel defeated after those significant losses on March 8. Certainly, we would not have been surprised if both teams had lost early in the NCAA tournament, ended their seasons, and started thinking about next year. But both teams shook off their embarrassing defeats, regrouped, and performed well enough to get to the championship game.
As leaders, we will be faced with difficult challenges. At times the adversity will affect the morale of our teams. It is at these times that we need to show courageous leadership. We need to remain positive and communicate a hopeful message to our teams. Our poise and composure will reinforce to our teams that we will make it through the difficult time and come out stronger in the end.
Connecticut and Kentucky are playing in the national championship game. They made it to this final game because they were able to rebound from terrible defeats less than a month ago. Their coaches showed great leadership in encouraging the players to put the losses behind them and to get refocused on the upcoming NCAA tournament. This is a great lesson for us and reminds us that courageous and confident leadership can get our teams through difficult setbacks and on to championship performances.
Thanks for reading,
Ways to follow Dr. Jim Earle:
Twitter – @jvearle
Blog – http://www.jvearle.wordpress.com
Facebook – JVEarleConsulting
Book – 100 Yards of Success: Leadership Lessons from College Football, http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-62510-731-2