I ripped down another ferocious rebound during our daily game of twenty one in my high school gym class. I dribbled to the foul line to reset, and then I dribbled awkwardly to the basket. Mr. Brown, the head basketball coach pulled me aside to tell me that the next time I grabbed a rebound to take it back up strong. He said, “even if you don’t make it, chances are you will be fouled.” Before that moment he was just my gym teacher. After I grabbed the next rebound and took it up strong to the basket, he became my basketball coach. In that instant, I made the basketball team without knowing it. I had applied his feedback. He yelled, “That’s how you take the ball up!”
Besides the cliché of remembering my sports glory from high school, this story does illustrate an important point. In that short exchange we designed a mini alliance about our relationship. He was agreeing to call forth my talent and to be relentless with his truth and praise. I was agreeing to truly be open to his feedback and to apply it. Mr. Brown had noticed my potential and, he did his part in helping me cultivate it. I never went on to get my name in the paper, but I became the best player that I could be.
Right now there is somebody on your team that needs you to notice their raw potential. Take a moment and see if you can spot it. Take a breath, step in and call that potential forward. Not only will it make you feel good, it might elevate you from the role of the manager to the coach.