There are defining moments in every organization when the leader must makes a strategic to exert his/her influence or step back and trust those on their team.  It is during these times that the organization’s success is largely determined.

Recently, Steve Bisciotti, owner of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, told Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun about a moment that shaped the team’s history and changed how he interacted with those in his organization.  You can read the full story by clicking here.  Here’s a recap:

In the 2002 NFL Draft, Bisciotti wanted to draft cornerback Lito Shepherd with the team’s first round pick.  General Manager Ozzie Newsome wanted to draft Miami safety Ed Reed.  Bisciotti said, “I don’t understand this.  If they both have the same grade, why would you not take a corner over a safety?  It seems like that’s a more important position.”  Ozzie responded by saying, “Because I am true to my board.”

Bisciotti took a step back, perhaps swallowed some pride, and allowed Newsome to draft Reed.  Shepherd is now out of the league while Reed went on to become arguably the best to ever play his position and a future Hall of Famer.

Here are seven learnings from this draft day exchange:

  • Great leaders trust their preparation.
  • Ozzie Newsome’s commitment to his process for player evaluation provides definition and clarity for the organization.  
  • Newsome earned his owner’s trust by doing a great job.
  • Smart leaders trust the experts on their team.
  • Bisciotti yielded his rights showing that he is an emotionally secure leader.   
  • Bisciotti’s and Newsome have built an environment where all members of the organization play to their strengths.
  • Leaders who know when to step back and allow others to lead build championship teams.

If your team is not performing to expectations, perhaps you as the leader need to take a step back and trust your team.  Your thoughts?

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