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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Leadership Principles: Loyalty Best Prospers in a Family Environment

Over the next two weeks, as the nation enjoys March Madness, I am sharing some of the leadership principles I learned while playing basketball for Coach Dean Smith. I took so much of what he taught me and put it in a book called “It’s How You Play the Game: The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith.” Today’s leadership principle is this: Loyalty best prospers in a family environment. In so many ways, Coach Smith was like a second father to his players, instilling wisdom and perspective into the young men he coached. He made us feel like a family, which is why the UNC lettermen who played for Coach Smith are members of “the family.” Coach Smith was the surrogate father. We were brothers in “the family.” Whenever his players meet one another, even if from different decades, we feel an immediate connection. We are all a part of “the family.” James Worthy played basketball under Coach Smith and was a great All-American and NBA star. When I wrote the book on Coach Smith, I contacted Worthy for an interview. He immediately responded with this response: “Anything for a member of the family.” The culture of family was woven into the fabric of Carolina basketball. Coach Smith knew that if he created a healthy family environment, everyone would prosper no matter what role they played. Let me ask you this. In the environments where you have been called to lead, how are you doing with creating a family environment among those who work with you? Do they love one another? Do they feel secure under your leadership? Do you see qualities of a healthy family? Things like grace and truth, forgiveness, and open communication. Do they see the fruit of the spirit in you? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Are you as a leader producing this fruit in them? Take inventory of your personal life and leadership. Seek to create a family environment. It’s where loyalty best prospers! Our Leadership Principles blog series is inspired by David's book "It's How You Play the Game: The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith." If you would like to receive this book, please go here.

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