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“Hut, Hut, Hike!” Five Must-Have Leadership Qualities to Call Plays on and off the Field

With the end of the year quickly approaching; another exciting time lies right around the corner: the NFL playoffs. As many of us around the country begin assessing how our favorite teams stack up against the rest of the pack; head coaches and players will review if they had done enough to secure a position in the playoffs for a chance to bring home the coveted Lombardi trophy.

Whether you’re on the field or in the office, all teams need quality leadership to achieve their goals. So, how do the leaders who call and execute the plays during a game match up to the leaders calling the shots in the workplace? Here are five traits both have in common:

Ability to “Call Audibles” – To be one of the best quarterbacks in the league, a player must be able to assess the opposing team’s defense and adjust plays accordingly. At the conference room table and in the general workforce, the best leaders demonstrate agility to assess and adjust a business plan as needs and environments change.

Ability to Stand Tall in the Face of Pressure – Regardless of the team, all quarterbacks experience a large amount of pressure. The QBs who can remain calm and deliver a great pass, all while facing the opposing line backers, are the most likely to secure another first down. Just like those quarterbacks, business leaders who stand tall in the face of deadlines, unexpected challenges, and crises will ensure that their organizations’ needs are met.

Command Presence – Quarterbacks must have buy-in that’s immediate and influential to keep all 11 players on the same page in the huddle and to execute game-winning plays. Similarly, leaders who deliver a direct, focused, and personalized message to their teams will guarantee that every moving part of their organization will be purposefully and carefully orchestrated to the exact specification of the business plan.

Continuous Performance Assessment – Perpetual learning and development is a key part of becoming a successful leader. Just as quarterbacks watch prior games to examine ways to improve, executives who spend time assessing past performance and improving upon challenge areas will ensure that their next engagement will be even better than the last.

Unwavering Integrity –  Throughout the season, quarterbacks must be conscious of following and leading within the rules of football. Comparably, business leaders must also demonstrate a track record of integrity, accountability and a willingness to always “do the right thing.” To be viewed as a trustworthy, beneficial resource for their fellow colleagues, peers and clients, executives must include integrity as a key pillar of their professional “play-calling.”

Just like my favorite quarterbacks in the NFL, leaders who exhibit these qualities day in and day out, should feel confident that they will come away with another check mark in the “W” column, to further the goals and agendas of their respective businesses.

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