In today’s Passion Struck episode, I interview John U. Bacon, the New York Times bestselling author of Let Them Lead: Unexpected Lessons in Leadership from America’s Worst High School Hockey Team. John is a highly sought-after expert on shared leadership, and this episode is a must-listen for leaders of any type.
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In This Episode, John U. Bacon And I Discuss His New Book Let Them Lead and The Importance of Shared Leadership
How do you turn the country’s worst hockey team into one of the best? My way or the highway’ simply doesn’t work anymore, especially with younger, intellectually curious men and women. So what does?
Our guest today, John U. Bacon, took over a team that hadn’t won a single game the season before and lost the four best players to graduation. With the same players, angry parents, and doubtful administrators, John was able to turn this program around by drawing on the power hiding inside all the players on that team. You will learn that it starts with high expectations, making the players accountable to each other, and before you know it, they’re leading the team. That’s how everybody wins – and that’s how they learn life’s valuable lessons.
John discusses the importance of shared leadership and how it can help teams succeed. Bacon builds off the philosophy of John Cooper, the Tampa Bay Lightning coach, who says, “On bad teams, nobody leads. On good teams, leaders lead. On great teams, everybody leads.”
Shared leadership is a widely used management concept that suggests that everyone on a team should have a role and a responsibility. It’s often seen as a key to great team performance. John U. Bacon discusses the concept and how it can be implemented in any organization.
Let Them Lead is a book that discusses the importance of shared leadership and provides practical advice on how to make it work. John U. Bacon is a leading voice in the field of team leadership, and his book, Let Them Lead, has revolutionized how we think about team building. This episode is a must-listen for anyone who wants to improve their team building and leadership skills.
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More From My Interview With John U. Bacon
During my interview with John, I asked him what possessed him to coach America’s worst high school hockey team.
John U. Bacon explains, “It’s a great question. My dad asked the same question. My dad’s a pediatrician at the University of Michigan. And his first question is, why would you want to do that? It takes a ton of time. It pays $5000 bucks during the season. It pays nothing in the offseason. If you don’t work in the offseason, you won’t be very good.
But it’s always been a dream of mine. And it sounds utterly corny. Yes, I had metrics in mind. I knew I wanted to win games, and I wanted to beat our rivals, I wanted to go far in the playoffs. I wanted to team to set some records. Yeah, all that. But that’s not why I did it. What I really want is the old Supreme Court Justice talking about the difference being pornography and art. And he said, ‘I can’t define it. But I know it when I see it.’
And that’s about how I felt. I can’t define a great culture in some ways, but I know when I see it. And I know when I feel what I want, it was a feeling in the locker room that everyone’s got your back, that we are better than everyone thinks we are. That we believe in ourselves. That you don’t want to play us and that everybody, individually and collectively, knows the habit of finding limitations and surpassing them. Constantly surprising ourselves.
That’s the feeling I want. This kind of runaway freight train of greatness, if you will. So that’s what I wanted. I didn’t always have that myself. As a player, I had some of that with my teammates being out of the team. We had a good team. If we had more of that, we might have won a state title and got to the final four. But anyway, that’s what I really want, and I want them the ultimate measure.”
Thanks, John U. Bacon!
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Resources From The Show With John U. Bacon
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Passion Struck podcast receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you so much for being so supportive!
Personal website: https://johnubacon.com/
Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football
The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism
My solo episode on what it means to be a person of courage: https://passionstruck.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-person-of-courage/
My interview with Seth Godin on why we need systems to change to save the planet and address climate change: https://passionstruck.com/seth-godin-we-need-systems-change-save-planet/.
My interview with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman and Dr. Jordan Feingold on Choosing Growth and transcending self-doubt, fear, and anxiety: https://passionstruck.com/jordyn-feingold-scott-barry-kaufman-chose-growth/
My interview with NYU Stern School of Business Professor Scott Galloway on Why America is Adrift: https://passionstruck.com/scott-galloway-america-is-adrift/
My solo episode on why micro choices matter: https://passionstruck.com/why-your-micro-choices-determine-your-life/
About Today’s Guest, John U. Bacon
John U. Bacon has worked for nearly three decades as a writer, a public speaker, and a college instructor, winning awards for all three. He has authored twelve books on sports, business, health, and history, seven of which are New York Times best sellers. Today, we discuss his latest book Let Them Lead: Unexpected Lessons in Leadership from America’s Worst High School Hockey Team. Bacon has taught at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, and teaches at the University of Michigan.
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John R. Miles is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Passion Struck. This full-service media company helps people live intentionally by creating best-in-class educational and entertainment content. John is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, and author named to the ComputerWorld Top 100 IT Leaders.
John is the host of the PassionStruckPodcast. The show focused on exploring the mindset and philosophy of the world’s most inspiring people to learn their lessons to living intentionally. Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to live better, be better and impact.