The Myth of the Born Leader

“Family on 3. 1, 2, 3. FAMILY!” 

We’ve all heard a variation of that after a long day’s work. Whether it’s on the field, in the gym, by the pool, or whatever you call your practice facility, breaking down the huddle is a key part of making the team one unit instead of a bunch of athletes who happen to compete on the same squad. 

You’re probably thinking that the person who breaks it down was born into that role. The loudest guy on the team, the natural leader. They’ve just been good at this since they came into this world. 

We’re here to tell you, they aren’t born into the role of Team Leader. 

Whether it’s the captain of the team or even a coach, they worked hard to earn that right. We all have it inside of us to take on that role, most of us just don’t know it yet. 

Here are a few of the qualities that all leaders need to start with:

  • Keep Yourself and Your Team Honest
    • A leader understands that the world won’t be honest with them. They’re told they’re destined for greatness more often than they’re told to do their homework. A leader knows not to let that get to their head. You won’t always be great. Sometimes you mess up, everyone does. What separates a leader from a follower is holding themselves, and their teammates to the highest standard.
  • Don’t be Afraid to Delegate
    • There’s no “I” in team. As cliche as that is, it’s the truth. You can’t play every position on the field by yourself. You might think that you’re the best at every position, but any quarterback will tell you (except Marcus Mariota) that you can’t complete a pass to yourself. Trust your teammates. Know that when you accel, they’re going to follow in your footsteps. 
  • Lead by Example & Accountability
    • Whether you’re a leader right now, or hope to be in the future, acting like a leader will make people believe you’re one. Step onto the playing surface and show the team that you’re meant to be there. Every single drill should be played like it’s the last time you’re going to do it. Don’t let up just because practice is over. Don’t mess around in the back of the huddle while coach is talking. Give everyone your attention and don’t treat anyone with disrespect. Hold your teammates accountable if they’re doing any of the stuff we just talked about. It might be hard at first, but once they see you mean business, the whole team will start to follow you real quick.
  • Keep it Positive
    • There will always be doubters inside and out of a team. Your job is to shut the team off from them. Things may not be going your way; you might be headed into the final minute with a goose egg on the scoreboard. That doesn’t mean you get to start being negative and yelling at your teammates. That’s the time you tell your team that it’s time to buckle down and play the game like it’s 0-0. Anyone can play the blame game, but not everyone can turn it into a learning moment.
  • Always be Ready to Learn
    • Like we said, leaders don’t just come out of nowhere. They’re always listening to those that came before them. It might be your coach or it might be the team captain, but every word that comes out of that person’s mouth should be holy to you. 
  • Have a Sense of Humor
    • Being serious and a leader on the field is a must.  Every team has players that like to slack off, and every team needs the player to keep them in line. That doesn’t mean you’re just a robot. When the cleats come off, the team has to see that you’re just one of them. You can blast music in the locker room or jaw with the rest of ‘em! Just remember, leaders eat last. 

There are a lot of leadership qualities out there, and for the most part, they’re all true. 

Leader’s will build the family around them. They’ll make sure that everyone on the team has a role to play and that no one gets left behind. They’ll cuff you upside the head when you aren’t rowing in the same direction and dap you up when you’re doin’ that work. 

Remember, that leader could be you.