Blog Post #279 Leadership Principles from Geno Auriemma

Four leadership principles from Geno Auriemma:

  1. Give each player what she needs, not what she wants.
  2. Empower your group to figure it out.
  3. No apologies for high demands.
  4. Own your mistakes.

Taken from:


Let’s look at those principles:

(1) What a person needs, not what I want.  My granddaughters are learning the word “want” (at age 5).  “Papa I want that”. They can be very persuasive. But, it might not be what they need.  Given a choice between ice cream and broccoli, the ice cream will be chosen 99% of the time.  (Leah might pick the broccoli once).

With kids and with adults – even senior adults like me – I want a lot of things.  Hopefully over the years, I’ve learned that wanting something and needing something are very different.

(2) Empower the group to figure it out.  With teams the team members need to work together.  I’ve known basketball teams when one person won’t pass the ball to another – even if the other person is open for a good shot.  They call it “teamwork” for a reason – teams have to work together.

(3) High demands.  I also liked to challenge my students to become more.  I was disappointed in students who were in the class only for a grade.  (I’m remembering one who did a grade challenge to get her grade changed from an A minus to an A.  Even now several years later, I don’t think she worked hard enough for the A. But I caved in when the department chair suggested her request (hmmm – ‘demand’) for a grade change had merit).

(4) Own your mistakes.  I’m made a lot of mistakes over the years.  (Comes with age). It would be nice to have a scapegoat to blame.  But, mostly, I do own my mistakes. Like being late to a meeting – I know I need to get going, but sometimes I just procrastinate a little too long; traffic gets heavy – and I’m late.  Lesson learned – start earlier!!

So – how about you?  Are these four lessons part of your life?  I’d like to know at:


Go for it!!Have a great day!!



Posted by Bruce White

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