They call him the General.
He amassed 902 wins in a collegiate basketball coaching career that spanned more than 40 years. He is the only coach to win the NCAA championship, the NIT title, the Olympic gold medal and the Pan-Am gold medal.
Bob Knight is a legend and should be revered as one. Or should he?
He’s always been combative and controversial which I viewed admirably as a sign of a strong competitive spirit. Plus, he had the reputation of being tough on his players, yet many publicly admired and adored him.
Then, I came across this 90 second halftime speech he once delivered to his players: (Warning, the audio of this video has excessive profanity.)
Keep in mind that Knight is speaking to a collection of young adults he has the responsibility to mentor and motivate. Is this the way to do it? Would you ever condone someone speaking to you in this manner? How would you react to a coach dressing down your child with this language?
I’ve been managing people in a work environment for 17 years. I have had my share of stumbles. Plus, I do pepper my language with the occasional four letter word when I am trying to emphasize a point.
However, I subscribe to the philosophy that if you treat colleagues with respect the outcome is typically a productive one. For me, it is all about four things:
–Be clear and consistent in your expectations
–Focus on the positive result that comes with a high level of performance
–Provide honest and candid feedback, even if it is not what the person wants to hear
–Never make it personal