“Be the Leader You Want to Follow”
Tomorrow is the Super Bowl! Millions of people will be hanging out, munching on snacks, sharing drinks and watching the event. And it is an event. It is much more than a football game – even a championship football game. The Super Bowl is a phenomenon.
I was trying to explain this idea to a colleague from Korea. I related how this year’s match up is a story of east meets west, old vs. new, tradition vs. innovation. I told her about Tom Brady – the GOAT, the Greatest of All Time. Brady’s record of 5 Super Bowl wins makes it hard to argue against this title. With an arsenal of tools and a incomparable knack for last minute miracles, people either love or hate #12.
Patriot’s coach Bill Belichick seems to know exactly how to get the best from his quarterback. Belichick has coached Tom Brady for 19 years and leads him masterfully, knowing when to challenge and when to just let Brady loose to do what he does best – command the field and win football games. Their work together like a well-oil machine and their success makes it difficult to root against them.
On the other side of the field are the up and comers. Although the Rams have been a team for over 80 years, they recently returned to their hometown of Los Angeles, California. The Rams brought with them a host of young talent including Sean McVay, the youngest coach in NFL history. McVay coaches with the enthusiasm of a 16-year old and with the skill of a veteran. His passion for the game is visible.
McVay – the quarterback whisperer – seems to have a special ability to coach quarterbacks, especially young Jared Goff who leads the Rams on the field. McVay has led this young QB to levels many doubted he had within him. Together, the L.A. Rams have created a renewed energy in a city that was ready to love football again.
As I related these stories to my colleague, I realized that most of my comments had little to do with football and much to do with people and leadership. As the wife of one football coach and the mother of another, I’ve watched my share of games over the years. I have a decent understanding of the game, but I also know enough about leadership to understand it takes much more than Xs and Os for success.
Sunday’s Super Bowl game reflects leadership success at several levels. The event illustrates how different leaders and differing leadership styles can both be effective. It’s been said that “you should be the leader you want to follow.” That may be true, but it may be more important to be the kind of leader our team needs.
We don’t know if McVay’s style would work well with the seasoned veterans of New England. We don’t know if Tom Brady could have the same synchronicity with Cooper Kupp as he does with the Ron Gronkowski. However, we do know that when leaders meld their authentic leadership style with the needs of their team, success follows. When leaders and teams have the same goals, they develop confidence and understanding that each is doing their best to achieve that goal. The results are obvious.
Here are a few ideas for blending your authentic leadership style with the leadership style your team needs.
- Watch and Listen to Your Team
- Reflect on Past Success
- Explore your Own Leadership Style
- Find the Intersection of Your Leadership and Their Needs
- Lead from This Place