I've coached youth softball now for the past six years. You can learn a great deal about leadership when coaching any team. Here is one key lesson I've learned. In youth softball, girls often become bored at the slow pace of the game. It becomes worse if they are playing a position that they would rather not play. As a coach, you have to remember to explain to each player why their role/position is critical to the team's success. Moreover, you must heap praise on a player who, after perhaps after some period in which they haven't seen much action, then executes their role perfectly to help the team. That moment of positive reinforcement becomes an aha moment when many begin to see how each role is valuable. However, leaders can't stop there. They must continue making it clear how each role is instrumental to team success, because the message wears off if not heard repeatedly.
Leaders of all types of teams must remember to take the time to make it crystal clear how and why each role is valuable. Leaders must constantly explain how each member's actions drive team success. They must go out of the way to praise those who may have a role that is perceived as less significant. Take Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, as an example. Several years ago, after the Patriots won a key playoff game on the way to the championship, he heaped praise on the backup quarterback after the game. However, he had not played at all! Yet, the coach explained how the player's mimicry of the opposing quarterback in practice all week had helped the defense's preparation immensely. Now that is how to make sure each member of the team sees the criticality of his role!