3 Qualities of a leader.

What if we led like an NFL head coach?

by Bradford Rodgers

If we turn on the news today, we are inundated with the drama of the world. We see clips of local, national and world, “leaders,” caught up in actions and behavior that are anything but leadership. We see our politicians bickering and fighting with each other and then wonder why the rest of the country is in such discourse. As for me, I have never worked with a real leader in the flesh. I have only been witness to scared, fearful men and women who try to protect their given positions of “leadership” by pushing the rising talent around them down, down, down!

I am not saying real leaders don’t exist. I’m saying, I have never worked with or for one. There have been a couple who I thought were the kind of leader I could be mentored by and groomed…but they quickly revealed that they have their tails between their legs like so many others. The reason so many leaders miss the mark is the ultimate leader in the business, the President/CEO, creates an environment of fear. That fear works it’s way down the chain. Before you know it, you’ve got an entire organization scared to voice their thoughts on how to improve a policy or system in the organization. No one wants to step up and lead…except for the managers and executives, because if they don’t get results, they are scared they will lose their jobs.

I have seen talented people held down by a Vice President of Sales because the V.P. was worried the President would replace him with the up and coming salesman. So, what is a real leader? What characteristics do they possess?

1. A leader is more concerned about the GROWTH and DEVELOPMENT of his/her people than of their own.

Any real leader knows that a business is about more than the bottom line and money. If you look at ALL of the businesses globally who have tremendous growth and employee satisfaction, you see that the leaders invest in the staff. Staff are given opportunities to be developed and grown. There is a genuine interest in the company for allowing each employee to utilize their gifts and talents to benefit each other as well as the business. There isn’t a fear culture!

2. A leader takes a MINORITY position

A leader has conviction. A leader is not a pawn to be pushed around by the person above them. A leader has a set of values that they do not compromise. If they are asked to compromise those values and character qualities, they simply do not. Going against the popular decision from an authority is never easy, but any request that goes against your values and beliefs will define your reputation as a leader. A genuine leader does what is right even if it’s not popular.

3. A leader doesn’t lead based on FEAR.

The most transparent example of this is probably the National Football League. It is talked about in social media all the time how many head coaches come from some other head coaches staff. The “head coaching tree” it is called. In football, one of the greatest honors as a head coach is to see how many other head coaches you have groomed and developed. Head coaches don’t lead their staff based on fear. Look how many of them bring their staff with them when they get a new job. When a head coach finds someone with talent and promise, they hold on to them. They groom them and raise them to become another head coach, even if that means the pupil will take over their job one day. To a head coach, it’s an honor for a pupil to surpass the teacher. It’s a sign that you did your job as a leader. In the coaching world, the great one’s are immortalized based on how they grew the talent around them. In business, we have to begin developing that same approach.

Could you imagine how much different our country and economy would be if all of our proclaimed leaders would genuinely be more concerned about the growth of their staff, rather than their own? What if our leaders stood firm and held their ground on upholding the values they knew were right, instead of cowering to the popular opinion? And lastly, what if all of our leaders led with the same mindset as an NFL football coach and left a, “leadership tree” behind them instead of a trail of broken dreams and wasted talent? What a world it would be!

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