The Lost Art of Being Cool.

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In case you haven’t heard, there’s a narcissism epidemic. I’m serious.

According to the Association for Psychological Science, studies show that Americans in their 20’s are three times more likely to have experienced narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) than people over 60. These are the same folks that may seem charming at first blush, but turn out to be ridiculously self-absorbed. They’re also supremely self-confident in their abilities but turn out to be incompetent – and blame other people for their failures.

Narcissists go to staggering lengths to safeguard their grandiose views of themselves. They crave attention and admiration, lash out at anyone who criticizes them, and as you might guess, create exaggerated, “look at me!” social media profiles.

We see it every day in every corner of society. NFL players actually celebrate making a simple tackle with a choreographed performance to the fans in the stadium. NBA players make a dang basket and then run down the court, pretending to mix a cocktail, as they prove themselves to be “the straw that stirs the drink.” And rather than living in the moment, selfie stick consumers obsess over showing their “friends” that they visit awesome places, eat amazing food, and get within arms reach of incredible people.

Isn’t anybody cool anymore?

Well, there is one guy. His name is Jay Wright, and he’s the men’s coach of the Villanova Wildcats, winners of the NCAA tournament and the newly crowned champs of college basketball. Take a look at what cool looks like because, if you’re like me, chances are, you haven’t seen it in a while.

As captured in this video, you’ll see Coach Wright’s reaction to the final seconds of this championship game. Picture this: Villanova has the ball with the score tied and only seconds left in the game. His team races up the court and finds an open Villanova player who drains the winning shot. In the video, you see Coach Wright mouthing the word “bang” as he waits for the ball to pass through the net, sealing his first national championship.

And what does he do? Run onto the court immediately and begin hugging his players? Thrust his fists into the air to claim his well-deserved, first national title? Nah. Coach Wright, now referred to in some circles as “the boss” or “a class act OG (original gangster) Coach,” calmly walked over to the opposing coach, Roy Williams of the University of North Carolina, and shook his hand. Wright personified sportsmanship, class, and cool.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen that – a leader, who at the pinnacle of success was as cool as the other side of the pillow.

So, in honor of the Wildcats and their starting five, I’ll offer up my top five mandatories for being a cool leader:

1. Show confidence in your team. Expect them to succeed, and so will they. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer, penned, “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”

2. Listen to criticism without being defensive. Really listen and be confident enough to acknowledge the valid points. Even If the critique is off the mark, simply tell the individual that you will certainly take it into consideration. And don’t be sarcastic.

3. Be mentally tough. Be optimistic, enthusiastic, and cool under pressure. Those characteristics will rub off on your team. Don’t lose your temper, don’t use foul language, and don’t waste time thinking and talking about “what could have been.” Of course there will be disappointments, and your response to those should be genuine, but whining is not cool.

4. When you screw up, own it. Everybody makes mistakes. Not everybody accepts the responsibility for them. I once saw a company exec avoid giving a client bad news because he didn’t want to get scolded by the client on that Friday afternoon. Instead, this “leader” compounded his mistake by eliminating any chance the client had to fix the situation in time for his important Monday morning meeting.
So not cool.

5. Don’t leave early. Hard work is cool, and leaders set the tone for their operation. If you leave early, you might as well send everyone else home too, because they’re “gone” anyway.

With a little effort, we can all be cool.

Just don’t use a selfie stick to capture the moment.

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