17 Leadership Quotes And Lessons From Heisman Trophy-Favorite USC QB Matt Barkley
The USC Trojans are a popular pre-season pick to be college football’s best team in 2012. Leading the Trojans this year will be their pre-season Heisman-favorite quarterback Matt Barkley. In the August 20th edition of Sports Illustrated, writer Lee Jenkins takes an in-depth look at this incredible athlete and leader.
The following are the leadership principles and quotes I gleaned from Jenkins’s article that we can all learn from and apply.
- Great Leaders Have Great Respect For The Previous Generation - Barkley has developed a deep friendship 92-year-old Louie Zamperini. Zamperini, a WWII POW survivor, is the subject the of the best-selling book Unbroken. Barkley says, “Whatever I do I can’t measure up to Louie.”
- Great Leaders Finish Well – Great leaders cannot bear to start tasks and leave them incomplete. Barkley turned down a probably $15 million 2012 NFL salary to stay at USC and finish what heÂ began three years ago.
- Great Leaders Have GreatÂ Intelligence - In addition to being an honor student, Barkley can also play a guitar, build computers, and even deliver sermons.
- Great Leaders Take Different Paths To Success – While many great leaders come from difficult backgrounds, Barkley grew up in a Christian home, attended private school, and resided on a cul-de-sac in a gated community of Newport Beach, CA.
- Great Leaders Are Great People – Barkley has known girlfriend since they were five years old. Their parents did not let them date, however, until they were 16 years old.
- Great Leaders Have Great Dreams - Barkley announced he wanted to attend USC at the early age of eight. He never took an official recruiting visit to another school.
- Great Leaders Are Products Of Great Training - Barkley went to the powerhouse Mater Dei High School. This is the same school that produced USC quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Todd Marinovich. Mater Dei requires its quarterbacks to watch game film on their lunch hours and recognize defensive fronts by their junior years.
- Great Leaders Take Advantage Of Great Opportunity - As a high school freshman, Barkley was slated to back-up a trio of brothers, Jason, Chris, and Tate Forcier. However, their family relocated opening the door for Barkley to start immediately.
- Great Leaders Operate In Great Systems – Mater Dei’s system was a pro-style set similar to the one employed at USC. This made Barkley’s transition to USC much smoother.
- Great Leaders Are Continual Learners - “I process things like a computer. I love math because you can use a function to produce a correct answer. That’s how I treat football. You study the situation…and then look at the angles, go through the matrix of possibilities and fgure out the right pass to throw.”
- Great Leaders Are Great Servants - As a member of Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, Barkley takes frequent mission trips at areas like Haiti and South Africa to serve the poor and under-resourced.
- Great Leaders Provide Great Stability During Difficult Times - Once NCAA sanctions were levied against the USC program, Barkley became the glue that held the program together. He immediately began calling all potential recruits and current players. His message was simple, ”I’m still here. I’m going to stick it out. We’re going to make it happen. USC is bigger than one person, one coach.” Teammate Kyle Negrete said, “He was the spokesman for the university and he was 19.”
- Great Leaders Are Constantly Developing New Skills – Because he felt uncomfortable speaking in public, Barkley worked diligently with his parents to practice interviews as they gave him the toughest possible questions he could face.
- Great Leaders Have Great Perspective - Barkley, a frequent speaker at Fellowship Of Christian Athletes functions, is deeply religous. When he broke his collarbone in high school, his response was “It’s O.K. It’s God’s plan.” He adds, “I love to share my faith, but you have to know the time and place. I’ve learned that people don’t always want to hear your thoughts on religion and politics. You don’t need to shove it down their throats.”
- Great Leaders Have Great Production – In 2011, Barkley completed more than 69% of his passes and threw for 39 touchdowns. Both numbers were school records.
- Great Leaders Think Long-Term Security – On staying a fourth year at USC, Barkley said, “This is a way to max out my connection to the school and the relationships I’ve made. If I need a job someday, I’ll probably be able to get one through a Trojan, and that’s a securing thought.”
- Great Leaders Allow Others To Experience Great Success - At the restaurant where much of Jenkins’s interview took place, an employee approached Barkley and said, “It was all falling apart but you kept it together.”
I’m rooting for USC (specifically Matt Barkley) and the Alabama Crimson Tide this fall. What about you?
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