Wooden on Leadership

Wooden on Leadership

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Wooden on Leadership

            The Pyramid of Success was initially developed by John Wooden strictly to improve sporting performance in basketball teams. However, its application has extended beyond sports into businesses. At the core of his philosophy, Wooden was interested in developing a new way of perceiving and achieving success. Consequently, the fundamentals of his approach involved achieving peace of mind instead of tangible or perceived achievements such as grades or profit margins. The application of this pyramid of success in the business world is particularly useful in running the human resource department that directly deals with employees. Examining the application of this approach in real-life situations and formulation customized models that fit this style allow a business to enjoy the advantages recommended by the founder.

Wooden’s Pyramid of Success

            One of the most valuable aspects of Wooden’s model is its use in project management. His model is useful in teaching leaders the best way to handle their employees. It proposed that treating junior employees in a caring and concerned manner within the organization as well as outside the office is necessary (Wooden, & Carty, 2015). Supervisors need to understand that their role is not just to impart this sentiment across but also to ensure that they worked towards a common objective. Wooden’s approach is particularly useful for business leaders as it combines a healthy balance of competitiveness with nurture, aspects that are missing in the current business environment (Wooden, & Jamison, 2011). Wooden’s model comprised of five key elements, which are cooperation, friendship, enthusiasm, loyalty, and industriousness. He stressed the significance of enthusiasm and industriousness as these two had the power to push a leader past any challenges and obstacles in their line of duty. This foundation supported other qualities including self-control, intentness, alertness, and initiative. At the top of the pyramid were skill, condition, and team spirit. Wooden argued that even though workers preferred personal achievements, ensuring the team was successful was a far greater cause (Wooden, & Jamison, 2011). At the top of the pyramid are confidence, composure, and competitive greatness. The investigation into the applicability of Wooden’s model of success in modern businesses generated mixed results (Wooden, & Carty, 2015). While the structure and the contents of the pyramid were effective, the outcome of the model was peace of mind. Most leaders are satisfied with pace of mind as an outcome but the executive aspects of the organization normally prioritize financial objectives over everything else.

Leadership Style

            My preferred leadership style is participative in nature. This style of administration is characterized by seeking the contribution of all team members. Additionally, this leadership seeks to raise employee morale by giving them a priority in every situation. The problem is that this structure is challenging as it involves consulting all the employees before making an urgent decision (Wooden, & Jamison, 2011). One of the ways in which the participative leadership has similarities is in the motivation strategies. Both approaches seek to earn the trust and support of employees rather than coercing them using fear or manipulation. Another similarity lies in the flexibility of accepting change. Participative leadership and Wooden’s Pyramid of Success both exhibit ease of accepting internal and external change with the view of surviving in dynamic environments.

Aspects of John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success

            I agree with Wooden’s two lower stages particularly because they are almost similar in all conventional and effective models that guide the corporate world. However, the third, fourth and fifth levels comprise of elements that I feel should not be given such priority. Things such as poise are not necessary in every leader or organization. However, I agree with Wooden’s idea that success is peace of mind. Relying on tangible elements such as salaries or departmental targets is superficial.

New Pyramid of Success Model

            The proposed model of success has four layers. The lowest level consists of professional expertise, experience, and ethics. It is necessary to create a strong formal base that borrows heavily from Max Weber’s bureaucracy. The second tier consists of personal relationships, dedication, and passion. It is imperative to have a natural drive for the chosen career or field. The third level is charisma and competitiveness (Wooden, & Jamison, 2011). Employees need to be aggressive in their positions while maintaining an appealing personality with colleagues and clients. The last tier is perseverance. After all these skills and abilities have been embraced, having a strong will to push through time and challenges makes the difference. The model is loosely based on John Wooden’s pyramid of success structure. However, it is enhanced by rectifying the weaknesses.

Step-by-Step Strategy

            This set of strategies is based on Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. The pre-crisis stage involves offering strong leadership when the information about the crisis is revealed. Carrying out an evaluation of the problem by communicating with the rest of the employees fosters stronger relationships. The next step is creating a crisis response team. Including the qualified employees in the crisis gives them a sense of belonging and usefulness (Wooden, & Jamison, 2011). During the actual crisis, the next step is documenting every step of the solution and monitoring it continuously. The consequent step is requesting the opinion of all the team members (Wooden, & Carty, 2015). Asking every team member to offer the recommendation on the way forward and expecting him or her to respond sensibly shows trust and confidence in him or her.


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Wooden, J. R., & Jamison, S. (2011). Coach Wooden’s leadership game plan for success: 12 lessons for extraordinary performance and personal excellence. New York McGraw Hill Professional.

Wooden, J. R., & Jamison, S. (2011). The essential Wooden: A lifetime of lessons on leaders and leadership. New York McGraw Hill Professional.

Wooden, J., & Carty, J. (2015). Coach Wooden’s pyramid of success. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Revell.

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