John Madden’s Lessons for Leadership

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John Baldoni had a great article on HarvardBusiness.org titled “Five Things John Madden Teaches Us about Leadership.”

Apparently John Madden has announced his retirement…I’ve been so busy with work and school to not know this.  Baldoni took Madden’s announcement as a chance to look at what leadership lessons can be learned from Madden….and I was impressed.

The lessons are:

  • Commit to what you do
  • Innovate as you go
  • Tell Stories
  • Love what you do
  • Know when to say when

Now…I’m going to make you jump over to the article to get Baldoni’s take on these lessons but I will provide my own commentary here too.

I don’t think anyone would argue with these points.  Leaders need to be committed towhat they do, love what they do, innovate and know when to throw in the towel.  But what about the third one (tell stories)?  Do many leaders do that?

I think they should.

Think about John Madden’s commentary during football games (American football that is).  He never sat there and just called the plays as they happened…he provided insight into what was happening and share stories from his many years of experience.

He used stories to educate people watching the games and he made people smarter by doing so.  This is what leaders need to do to.

Don’t just tell people that the organization is changing…tell them why its changing. Tell a story that highlights the reasons for the change.  Provide examples and a narrative to help people take the information in and internalize it.

In addition to football jargon, let’s learn something else from John Madden. Describe where you want to go and draw it out for your team….you may be surprised that people will be on-board with your vision if they understand it more clearly.

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