“My Performance Sucked”: Leadership at the NFL Playoffs

Empowerment is what leaders give to their people.

Today’s blog post was written by guest blogger, Doug Trainor, Consulting Associate with The Ken Blanchard Companies and Co-founder of Leadership Vanguard.

I know that many of you reading this might be Baltimore Ravens fans.  For those folks, I’m sorry about the playoff loss on Sunday.  I hope you will bear with me despite the fact that the leadership I am writing about comes from Tom Brady, quarterback for the Patriots.  After the Patriots win in the AFC Championship game Sunday, Brady was being interviewed and the reporter  mentioned how great Brady played, leading his team to a fifth Superbowl while he was quarterback—and tying a record doing so.  To which Brady responded, “I sucked today—fortunately the team did better than I did.”

Is that leadership? Yes! I think we need more of that type of leading in organizations across America—both public and private sector.  So please tell someone you were a poor performer today! It may sound a bit funny but there is something to it. A lot to it, actually. The first thing is candor.  We need candor to make our agencies and departments better.  Leaders address reality—even when it is tough to do and with upcoming budget pressures and the sometimes extreme political dialogues we hear on TV—candor will serve you well with those you lead.

The next quality Brady displayed with his comment was accountability. He took personal accountability for his performance and he did it publicly.  When leaders do this it builds credibility with those they lead and with the customers they serve.  It can be a powerful way to increase the trust in your organization. A side benefit is that makes it easier to give difficult feedback to people around you when you admit your own failings. Something that makes feedback easier?  Who couldn’t use some of that?

Last, but not least… it promotes humility.  Humility is a leadership quality that will serve you well in every way. Not thinking poorly of yourself; but realistically. And realizing our teams are the reason we succeed in our leadership roles and giving credit where it is due.

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  1. #1 by David on January 25, 2012 - 7:44 am

    Your thoughts on Brady’s comment make a lot of sense to me particularly the part on candor and accountability. From my perspective there is a lot of deflection that goes on. Thank you for sharing.

  2. #2 by collaboraitve leadership on January 27, 2012 - 2:14 pm

    Excellent site. Plenty of helpful information here. I’m sending it to some buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you for your effort!

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