There are few things as important and misunderstood as leadership. Without effective leadership communities, families and organizations of every kind will fail to achieve any real measure of success. It is possible for movement to take place without effective leadership, but it is the leader that turns that movement into vision accomplishing, life altering momentum.
I have been privileged throughout my adult life to work with and observe a number of extraordinary leaders. I am a better person because of their influence on my life. I have learned that the best way to continue to grow in this area is to get around and ask questions of those who are actually leading.
Over the next several weeks I will present a series of interviews with men and women in our community who are not only leading but are leading effectively. It is my hope that what we learn from them will equip each of us to more effectively point the way for those we are blessed to lead.
Our first interview is with Coach Tim Hess of Newark Memorial High School. I know few people who take personal leadership as seriously as Coach Hess. While teaching Health and Physical Education and coaching the NMHS wrestling team, he works to instill values that will equip those that he influences for future success in their lives. To him, teaching and coaching are not jobs to be done but opportunities to lead.
I appreciate the time that Coach Hess has taken to share some of his thoughts on leadership.
What were some of the events that led you to your current position?
I returned to NM to assist my Coach (Rich Swift) with wrestling soon after I graduated from high school. I bounced around a lot in terms choosing a major in college. I listened to a lot of bad advice about chasing after money. After a few years of working in construction and starting our family, I finally felt certain that returning to school to finish my degree was the thing to do. At that point I decided to do what was always actually in my heart to do: become a coach and PE teacher.
What is your favorite thing about your current role?
I love being able to share my passion for athletics, health, fitness with young people.
What is your biggest leadership challenge?
Our society has changed in many ways during my career in coaching and teaching. One serious challenge is the number of students who come from broken homes. This often times leads to several problems later in life such as students who lack some of the basic character traits that we used to take for granted. Many students are just not being taught them earlier in life and so we have to try to instill them as much as possible when they’re older.
What legacy do you hope to leave behind?
I hope my legacy would be as an encourager. It is my desire that our student/athletes understand the true meaning of success isn’t about winning on the scoreboard but about giving all you can to be the best that you are capable of. I truly believe that one of the primary benefits of athletics is to learn the character traits of hard work, honesty, sportsmanship, grit, resilience, goal setting, etc. When athletics are done right, those lessons will be taught and our student/athletes will be champions in their arena of competition and in LIFE.
If you could sit down with someone and tell them one thing, what would it be?
If I was talking to a young coach I would try to help them understand that their position is one of the most valuable in today’s society. As Billy Graham said, “a coach has more influence over a young person than any other person in their life.” Take that role seriously and realize that everything you do and say is being watched and evaluated by your players. The athletes will, to a large extent, take on the character of their Coach. Make sure you are teaching the right lessons.
Who are some people that you look up to?
Rich Swift (NM Coach, Teacher, and AD) was a major influence in my life. He was a great friend and mentor. He taught me so much about teaching and coaching and life. From afar I admire Tony Dungy, John Wooden and Joe Ehrman as coaches who understand what this business is all about.
What is the single most important thing to you?
Thankfully I can say with 100% assuredness that my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the most important thing to me. I came to know Him later in life and I was a mess when I finally submitted to Him. Since that time, although there have been terrible struggles, my life has been so much more peaceful and joy filled. My wife and our 3 children are all fully devoted followers of Christ and that is a huge blessing.
In your opinion, what is the most important element in effective leadership?
Being a servant leader is important. Those who you lead need to see that you are willing to “get dirty” too. Jesus is the perfect example of that as he came down from Heaven to serve us in the ultimate way, by giving His life for us.
Thank you Coach for your insight and for living your life to instill these principles in those that you lead! Our community is blessed to have your influence.