It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of mediocrity. Even the world’s best and most experienced leaders have to change their leadership style and poor personal habits to stay fresh and relevant. I have seen a real-life example this year in John Tortorella, one of the NHL’s most controversial and polarizing coaches.
Tortorella was famous for his fiery personality. He rarely smiled, and was quick to yell obscenities at opposing players, refs and coaches. Although he has had a winning resume with other teams, the Vancouver Canucks fired him after the dismal 2013/14 season. The team failed to make the playoffs, and his antics, such as trying to brawl the Calgary Flames coach in his dressing room, got him a 15 game suspension from the league. His NHL career was in jeopardy. He was too much of a hothead, and while that style of coaching may have been effective in the past, it wasn’t winning the hearts of his players or management around the league.
But he did get a second chance with the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets. The team has only been able to break through to a playoff spot in two of their fifteen seasons. But this year they have been awesome. They had a 16 game win streak (the second best in league history), and they look to be on course to make a playoff run. What changed? I think it has a lot to do with their reinvented coach.
At age 58, John Tortorella has mellowed out, and he even cracks an occasional smile. He still has a fiery personality, but he has learned to reel it in, and take things in stride. In an interview with thestar.com he revealed that he stepped back and did some evaluation and assessment, and now he lets his human side show through. He even tries to enjoy the wins, something he didn’t do enough in the past.
You Can Change Too!
Do you feel the need to make some changes? Try these proven methods today!
- Take a breather.
Sometimes when we are in the middle of the rat race it is hard to get perspective. Take a Kit Kat break now! Reflect on areas you are stuck. Consider the issues that continue to hold back your life and leadership.
- Invite feedback.
Ask a trusted friend or colleague to give you honest feedback. Or open yourself up to a 360 review. You will get unfiltered responses that may kick your butt into reality. Self-evaluation is a first step, but we can easily fool ourselves into thinking we are doing better than we actually are. You need another set of eyes to see the reality of the situation.
- Make the changes.
Too many times we do nothing with the honest feedback we receive. Maybe it is because of pride, or because we don’t know how to change. Or maybe we don’t know what it will look like if we actually do what seems unnatural to us. The best way to find out is to just do it. What do you have to lose? Your job? You will likely lose it if you DON’T change! Like an old boxer once said, “It’s always better to go down swinging!”
Speaking of boxers, take to heart the inspirational words of Rocky Balboa from the movie Rocky IV: “If I can change and you can change, we all can change!” If Cold War enemies (and a fiery NHL coach) can change, so can you and me!
Now go get ’em Rocky!