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Leaders - On The Field and In The Boardroom

Posted December 4, 2012 4:41 PM by Brandon Kline

If you know me, then you know that last night I was watching the Redskins v Giants game. Of course I enjoyed watching the Redskins win, but I also enjoyed the pure entertainment of watching two great quarterbacks battle it out. I can’t imagine the pressure a rookie quarterback encounters when facing a veteran, Super Bowl-winning quarterback. This of course got me thinking about the two other great rookie quarterbacks this season, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. Each of these players has a set of characteristics that makes them and, as a result, their team, successful. Then, like any consultant would do, I thought about how these characteristics could be applied to the leaders of the mission-driven organizations we work with.

Below I’ve highlighted a few of the attributes that make these rookie quarterbacks successful. So, take a minute, think about these characteristics, and hopefully you’ll be able to see how they translate to the leaders in your organization.

Team Comes First Attitude. Have you ever seen a press conference with one of these guys? Reporters always ask questions about them as an individual, but they always seem to steer the answer back to being about the team. A good leader knows that they are only as good as the team that surrounds them and they acknowledge that fact openly.

Always Pushing Themselves. Everyone watches their talent on the field, but it’s when they’re off the field that the talent is nurtured and grows. After a series on the field, they come to the sideline, grab a drink, and sit down with the offensive coordinator to discuss the previous plays. They may be resting their legs, but never their brains. They are always learning, making adjustments, and strategizing about how to execute better next time.

They Have An Unrelenting Desire To Win. Do you think these rookies smile after they get beat? I don’t think so. They want their team to win, and not just once or twice, but always. If you ask them what they want from the season, I’m sure each would tell you that they want to win a championship. They want to be the best. A leader doesn’t settle for mediocrity, they always want to be better than the competition.

Respected. Despite their youth, these rookies garner respect from veterans with 10+ more years of experience. Yes, their talent has a lot to do with this, but it also relates to their discipline, work ethic, and commitment to the team above themselves. Not only do they have the respect of their teammates, but they show respect to them as well. Leaders recognize that respect is a two-way street.

They Make Everyone Around Them Better. This is the characteristic that really amazes me. Somehow, someway, everyone around them seems to play to their fullest potential. When all of the above characteristics come together, this is the result. These guys make everyone want to be better, work harder to get better, and ultimately become better. In my mind, this is what true leadership is all about.

I always find it interesting to compare leaders that operate in different atmospheres and, more often than not, I find that the skills and characteristics of good AND bad leaders are similar regardless of the environment. Hopefully some of these characteristics resonate with you and help you think about the leader you are or would like to be. 

Down. Set. Hike!