Next time someone gives you a hard time for lying around watching football, tell them you’re studying leadership. It may not get you out of the doghouse, but it sure sounds a lot more responsible. If they press you for specifics, tell them you’re observing the quarterback:
1. “Notice, there’s only one quarterback.” When the ball is hiked, it goes to one person. He’s the guy you listen to, the guy ultimately responsible to do something good with the football. This is unity of command. This should be the same with every issue and aspect of your organization. It should be clear who’s in charge and who people should to listen to.
2. “He gives it away most of the time.” Usually when a quarterback gets the ball, he delivers it to someone else: he either hands it to a running back or throws it to a receiver and let’s them do what they do best. Quarterbacks specialize in delivery. As a leader, practice your delivery – how you delegate and to whom you delegate should be one of your specialties. Note: when the plan calls for it or the situation demands it, be ready to run with the ball yourself.
3. “See the target; feel the pressure.” Quarterbacks can’t get fixated on their receivers (they’ll get sacked from behind) or on the defensive line that’s rolling toward them (they’ll miss the open receiver downfield). As a leader you’ve got to focus on your objective, while at the same time feeling the reality of your situation. It doesn’t work the other way around – you can’t look at the pressure and expect to feel your target.
What has watching or playing sports taught you about leadership?