NFL Leadership Styles


It is interesting to see how leadership styles come and go in the NFL. For the past couple of years during the Patriots reign, Bill Belichick, and his paranoid, scientific style was the craze around the league. He knew the opposing team better than the team knew them self a lot of the times, and he brought in players not with big names, but that would the system.

Years before Belichick,it was Bill Parcells and his strong disciplinarian style that was popular. Parcells would use tactics like yelling to get his players to do what was needed.

Now, as the Super Bowl is about to start in a few hours, a new leadership style has emerged from the two head coaches, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith; a servant style. It is not just a style to them, but it reflects their lifestyle. It is the fact that this is a lifestyle and not just a leadership style that makes it the most challenging, yet most affective way to lead.

We see the popularity of the “servant” leader grow in popularity starting with Robert Greenleaf, but also with movements like Ken Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus and Herb Baum’s transparent leader. Could this be the way to lead that will stick? The amazing thing about all these movements is that it does not start with a strategy or tactic on how to lead others to success, but the understanding that you must lead yourself first and then understanding it is not about yourself.

No matter who wins tonight, both coaches realize that there is more than life than championships. There is the life of serving others and changing the world.


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