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Am Advisers Life – Be Humble Not Arrogant

As an Adviser, I really get to see it all.  Great competition, great leadership, skillful innovation, and the humility to understand when someone invents a better mousetrap.  Its those things, that turn the mundane daily routines of watching film, studying statistics, contacting teams, and promoting players from becoming truly mind numbing sometimes.

One of the best things about the job though is meeting people, studying them and learning.  That never grows old, and thankfully takes place on more days than it does not take place.  It happens off the ice as much if not more than it happens on the ice.

You can learn more about a player or hockey executive by how they interact with people than you can from watching passing drills.  Communication skills, or lack thereof, and how they develop professional relationships usually tell me all I need to know about someone and their upward mobility.

Great players with poor relationship and communication skills don’t go very far.  Good hockey people who don’t remember how important it is to be humble usually find themselves out of the game eventually.

What is amazing to me, and to many of those I work with, is the level of arrogance displayed by some in the junior hockey business.  Its a unique thing to junior hockey that you really do not get from the NHL, minor pro, or the NCAA Coaches and staff.

Arrogance will be the downfall of most people in this business.  They forget where the come from, or lose sight of where they want to go because they become “something” where they currently reside.  Scary is the number of people who once thought so highly of themselves in this game that now sell software or drive a Zamboni.  I have lost count of how many.

Yesterday, I experienced arrogance from a place I did not expect to see it.  A high level person responded to me in such a way that it was shocking.  Condescending in tone, and needlessly descriptive in content.  Still I am quite surprised.

Today though, I look back and should have been able to predict the event.  I should have identified the traits of the arrogant person before I approached them.  Then again, if you cant look for the good in people and organizations in your every day work, it would be pretty damn depressing.

So, I thought I would point out some traits for you to look out for when dealing with hockey people having decision making power.

1. When you are arrogant, you tend to be more close-minded and thus, less likely to find new techniques and knowledge because you are consumed with yourself.  Example; Its my way or the highway.

2. When you are arrogant, you tend to disengage from learning about new people, places and things. This keeps you from making connections you might need later.  Example; I wont watch that player because he plays for a certain team.

3. When you are arrogant, you tend to do more talking and less listening.  Listening can help you learn, you cant learn anything from talking.  Example; Speeches are the opposite of conversations.

4. When you are arrogant, you think you are always right. This leads to false assumptions, and you are more likely to make a mistake.  Example; the 14 teams who passed on Cole Caufield in the 2019 draft because of his size.

When you see these traits in hockey people you meet or interact with, do not feel you need to blindly follow this person or organization.  They may be out of hockey before you are.

No one wants to be around arrogant people unless he or she wants something from that person. One day that arrogant person will wake up and realize they are alone and the only social interactions they engage in involve them being used.

Remember, confident people are quiet and insecure people are loud. Always be modest and humble; it will get you further in life.

How you deal with yourself and others will prove more than what you may say; actions will always be stronger than words.  Modest people tend to be more educated and open, thus share their knowledge with the world and people around them, while having the capacity to accept there is room for growth.

Listening allows you to learn, making your knowledge library that much more impressive. Arrogance limits your capabilities and growth potential.  Don’t let it be your downfall. Be better than that.

And to the person who inspired me to write this, thanks for the inspiration.  Thank you for reminding me why its important to continue to educate young men and their families.

Joseph Kolodziej – Family Adviser


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