NFL Leadership Styles – Can You Help?
Sometimes it is really useful to look at the Character Types of real people to see how what they do or say defines them. The SuperBowl and the magnificent victory by Green Bay and their young quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a great example to start off with.
I’d like to type all the major players in the NFL in terms of their leadership styles. I’m looking for some help here– with quotations or a link to a video as an illustrations. I did a similar article on Celebrity Chefs on TV and how their cooking and food presenting style reflected their Character Type Can you help fill out the NFL roster and comment on your favorite players? Interview or commentary links or player quotes are really useful as illustrations. See the leadership definitions below.
Let’s start with Aaron Rodgers as a Power of Conscience leader. Notice in his David Letterman interview below he talks about leading by example. That is what the best Power of Conscience characters do. He also talks about responsibility, duty, preparation, practicing hard and putting in the time to do the job well. That doesn’t mean he isn’t passionate about the game or inspirational– it just means that those qualities are not the primary attributes of leadership to him.
The Power of Conscience character leads by showing fairness, firmness, consistency and providing a good example. The best Power of Conscience leaders are “servant leaders” who have the humility to serve the greater good of others. Power of Conscience leaders teach their followers to be of service themselves.
Here is Aaron Rodgers on leadership in his own words.
Power of Idealism leaders are passionate and emotional leaders. They are inspiring and challenge their followers to give their all to a glorious cause. They create a sense of special destiny and often link their mission to the grand heroism or glories of the past. These characters lead their followers into a lost cause or an impossible battle. They know the odds are grim and victory is improbable but they charge in anyway. What they are after is valor, honor and a grand and glorious legacy—the kind of immortality to inspire others in story, song or legend. Who in the NFL leads in this way?
The player who comes to my mind is George Gipp. In the film, Knute Rockne All American, Knute quotes George like this:
Knute Rockne: Now I’m going to tell you something I’ve kept to myself for years. None of you ever knew George Gipp. He was long before your time, but you all know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame. And the last thing he said to me, “Rock,” he said, “sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock,” he said, “but I’ll know about it and I’ll be happy.”
Power of Reason characters are more loners than leaders. When they are put in charge (or they take charge) they use their intelligence, expertise, knowledge and technical skills to lead (or sometimes to dominate) others. They are most comfortable as experts or technicians.
These characters are not very skilled at interpersonal relationships. They don’t naturally engage or charismatically inspire others. They usually don’t like the genial chit-chat of team banter and camaraderie. Instead, these characters attract followers with their problem-solving abilities, technical ability, specialized experience or practical know-how.
When Power of Reason characters want to take command they argue that they are the most experienced or qualified to lead. They argue that they are in fact the intellectually or skills-based superior choice. Who in the NFL leads like this?
Power of Ambition characters are most often potential leaders, protégés and young, upwardly mobile strivers. They are impatient, high-energy individuals who want to get things done and who put a very high premium on accomplishment (right now!). They are often willing to take short cuts and cut corners to get ahead. They value fame, popularity and status.
These characters think well on their feet and are flexible and adaptable in a crisis. They can talk themselves into or out of any situation. When it serves their purpose they can fit in, with an almost chameleon-like ability, in any situation. They can be witty, engaging, amusing and “great in the interview room.” They are very charming and personable, if rather boasters and braggers.
The fictional player who fits this type is Brian “Smash” Williams’s (Gaius Charles) on Friday Night Lights. He is talented, arrogant and likes taking short cuts and avoiding hard questions.
Smash Williams: Takin’ it like a man, Matty. You know, avoiding the calls, ducking out, hidin’ in the bushes.
Power of Will characters bring many wonderful leadership qualities to the NFL community. They are decisive and authoritative. Others naturally look to them to them to take charge. They are strong, bold and forceful leaders. These characters stand out from the crowd with a commanding presence. Their philosophy is “win or die.” They see the world as a battlefield where only the strong survive.
Power of Will characters motivate others through the sheer force of their personality and their innate toughness and charisma. They are big dynamic characters who can “fill up a room.” Each wonderful quality of Power of WIll leadership has a set of corresponding Trouble Traits. Decisiveness becomes rashness when a leader fails to delay action long enough to fully consider the consequences of an action or doesn’t have the patience to listen to others. Leadership that is unilateral and absolute or will not permit dissent easily slips into dictatorial megalomania and colossal paranoia. Who in the NFL leads like this?
The person who comes to mind first for me is iconic Green Bay Coach, Vince Lombardi, who famously said: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” He was a big larger than life leader who had incredible force of will.
Power of Excitement leaders make everything fun and can recast anything as a amusing game. Their boyish charm and charisma can make them natural leaders. People gravitate toward these characters and follow them quite joyfully, rather like children who follow the lively, captivating music of the Pied Piper. They have lots of natural or innate talent but often lack the discipline and drive to excel under difficult circumstances.
Power of Excitement characters rarely are happy in a leadership position. They do not like the responsibility, follow-up and attention to detail that real leadership requires. If it’s not interesting, amusing or enjoyable these characters get bored, don’t show up or make a quick exit. Power of Excitement characters excel at instigating and finding interesting opportunities, but don’t always count on them to bring any crucial item in on schedule. Is there anyone in the NFL like this?
Power of Love leaders rarely like to be out in front in a take charge position. They prefer to exercise their control as the “power behind the throne”. Power of Love characters usually “lead” in supportive roles. They are great mentors and excel at providing encouragement and emotional support.
Power of Love characters view leadership as serving others, being of practical use and creating the sense they are indispensable. These characters get real satisfaction from pushing others forward and seeing them do well. They tend to bond with individuals more strongly than the team as a whole. Who in the NFL leads like this?
Power of Imagination leaders are able to sense the deep internal connections that bind and unify all of us. They lead by bringing together and inspiring others to see this bigger picture, this sense of common purpose or a larger universal mission. At first glance, these assembled individuals might seem to be contentious or have little or nothing in common.
Power of Imagination characters inspire united action by convincing disparate individuals that: “We’re all in this together” and “If we work together we will all achieve something important or worthwhile.” They are often gentle, shy or unassuming individuals who are the glue that holds a team together. Who in the NFL leads like this?
Power of Truth characters often use an initial affable and friendly approach to solving problems, pursuing goals and leading others. These characters don’t tend to be natural leaders. They don’t generally gravitate toward the front of the group. They tend to be too suspicious, anxious, self-doubting and second-guessing to expose themselves to the front and center scrutiny of others.
Brett Favre is this kind of leader. I wrote an analysis of him in an earlier post. Power of Truth characters value loyalty and commitment very highly, but they can be very unsettled and indecisive. They can become self-doubting and suspicious to the point of paralysis. At that point, they no longer trust their own instincts.
Brett’s is legendary for his retirement indecisiveness. In their darkest moments, these characters worry that they can’t believe anyone or anything. They suspect everyone is lying to them and every situation is not what it seems. They constantly look for little clues to confirm their doubts, suspicions and anxieties. These characters continually test and probe when operating out of fear. They insist others constantly prove themselves. They try to read the secret meaning in, or second-guess every move, every action and every decision made by others.
I’d love to fill out these profiles in leadership with your favorite NFL nominees. It’s most useful if you have quotes or links to interviews or commentary that backs up your choices. Please comment below or on my FaceBook ETB Page. Please share it with your football-loving friends so we can get a dialog going.