In the NFL, every team desires to advance through the playoffs to take on one last team for the ultimate trophy–the Superbowl! Each team beats the ground until disaster strikes and your team is knocked out of the playoffs. Your heart is broken, but what can we learn about leadership from such failures?
Because I live in Minnesota–the frozen tundra–I am a huge Vikings fan. I cheer for my team, win or lose. In January, we had the chance to advance to another playoff game until the unthinkable happened, Blair Walsh missed the game winning field goal. I remember sitting there, dumbstruck, as he’d hit every one that game, in-fact Mr. Walsh was the only Vikings player to put points on the board.
I find in our day to day grind we have success and failures in being a part of a team. If you win, everyone will celebrate the victories. If you lose, the leader’s to blame. It’s the blessing and curse of working on a team. But how are leaders supposed to conduct themselves despite having a loss?
Here are 5 lessons I’ve learned from watching Blair Walsh after his game losing kick.
1. Leaders celebrate their team. I mentioned earlier that win or lose, teams stick together. Blair Walsh encountered tremendous heat and ridicule for missing that kick. One thing he did was celebrate the victories they had as a team during the 2015/16 season. Leaders take the time to celebrate their team. They don’t put their team members down, they celebrate the wins and acknowledge those who helped bring about those victories.
2. Leaders acknowledge their failures. Failure is a part of life. We all fail from time to time. But great leaders will acknowledge their short-comings. Blair took the time on camera to own his mistake. He didn’t blame the quarterback for having the laces in instead of out. He owned his shortcoming. If you take the time to acknowledge your own failings, your team will appreciate and respect that you are simply human and also fail from time to time.
3. Leaders understand a teams success rises and falls on them. Leadership is not for the faint of heart. But to be a great leader, you understand that the success of your team rests solely on your shoulders. It would be nice to pass the buck to someone else, just once. Yet if we do just that, we cheapen our leadership. We give our team the chance to see us as incapable of taking a them to winning the game or scoring that next touchdown.
4. Teams rally around leaders who encourage and lift up. The overwhelming support for Blair Walsh from the Minnesota Vikings has shown the kind of team they are. They rallied around their leader who praised his team. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, a team will lift up a leader who encourages, supports and guides their team in both success and failure. Great leaders are those who lead their team in difficult times, helping them see the victories amidst defeat. That’s when the team will encourage and follow their leader, no matter where he may take them.
5. Leaders don’t give up, they press on to greater things. The saying goes; ‘when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.’ A leader’s responsibility is to press through no matter the circumstance. They keep the vision at the forefront of their mind. This vision allows a leader to take their team to the next level; because ‘without vision, the people perish.’ And when a team understands the vision, they will help their leader accomplish greater things.
Blair Walsh is a leader within the Minnesota Vikings. He sees where the team is heading. He understands his team will lift him up. He acknowledges his failure and that the teams success rises and falls on his shoulders. But most important, he celebrates his team and sticks up for them.
And without these five characteristics neither can we accomplish the vision God has given us for our team.
Question: What has impressed you about Blair Walsh’s leadership style? Where can you improve yours? Leave a comment by clicking here!