LEADING WITH A GREAT DEFENSE

3 Thoughts About Superbowl 50 From A Non-Football/Sports Guy

Superbowl 50 is over. The excitement and stress of the season and of last night is over. I’m not a rabid sports guy. Never have been. I like going to games, but have never really got into blocking my time to watch games on tv or following the stats of any of my home town teams. With that being said, I did watch the Superbowl last night (after spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to one device after another to get a good wifi signal). It was good match of two teams who deserved to be there. There was enough excitement and nail biting to go around. There were also some things to be learned about what leadership looks like. Most of the thoughts are coming from watching Peyton Manning lead the Broncos. So here they are.

Denver Broncos

1. Recognize your team’s strengths

When it comes to the Denver Broncos, the common theme of the 2015 season has been their defense. Everyone has been talking about it. From Facebook fans to sports commentators, they’ve all been saying that if Denver wins Superbowl 50, it will on the backs of the defense. Well guess what? They were all right! No matter what Cam Newton and the Panthers did, they couldn’t get past the Broncos defense. They were fast, furious and everywhere. It was crazy to watch.

So what? Well, the what is that during Peyton’s 6-7 weeks of recovery time, he saw the strength and power of his defensive line. He saw it, recognized it and went with it. He knew that he needed them. He knew that the Broncos organization needed them. So he kept putting them in the position of being the strength of the team. Not the offense. The defense. Good leadership recognizes the strength(s) of their team, even when it seems counter intuitive.

2. Develop your character

Every time I watch Peyton Manning get interviewed, I’m struck by how kind he is. He takes each question in stride (no matter how stupid the question). When I hear people talk about him it’s with words like character, leadership, respect or integrity.

Here’s the deal. That doesn’t happen over night or in a vacuum. Character is grown and fostered over time. Over years. It takes work. It takes being able to look at yourself and your weaknesses and then asking for help. Developing your character requires that you surround yourself with people who will love you enough to tell when you’re blowing it. Peyton has those people in his life. It’s obvious. Many of them are his family members. When you don’t have a strong or healthy family what do you do? Find surrogates. Find good friends who don’t care about your title or popularity and will tell you what’s what.

3. Be humble and honest

Watching Peyton get interviewed after the game, I was struck again at how kind he was to the interviewer and at how he talked up his team mates. He knew that the win wasn’t just about him. He knew that it was a team effort. It was a pleasure to watch. Then came the Cam Newton interview. It wasn’t a pleasure to watch. Cam faced obvious questions and sometimes silly questions. It was painful. I felt bad for him.

Can I just say something here? Yes, he is the quarterback of an NFL team. Yes, he is in a position of leadership. Yes, he should be able to handle the media better. But you know what? He’s 26!!! Give him a break. He was sad. Disappointed. How many of you would be able to handle yourself in his situation? I would have loved it if he would have just said, “You know what? I’m super disappointed. I don’t have much to say right now. That Broncos D was crazy good.” But he didn’t do that and now he’s got to live with what what the world is saying about him.

Anyway. That’s some of what’s rattling around in my head after last night. We’ve all been called to lead, so let’s lead well.

Question. What does your leadership style look like? Is it all about you or are you all about your team? What would it look to change your leadership style to be more inclusive and less exclusive? Side note: This is in the office or in the home.