I love learning from great leaders.  People who are at the top of their professions can provide amazing wisdom and insight into success and peak performance.  As I was going through some old files, I came across some pearls of wisdom from three people I listen to every time they speak on the subject of leadership:

Below are their thoughts, lessons learned, and where the content was obtained from:

November 24th SportsCenter – Nick Saban

  1. Great Leaders Must Get Their Teams To Execute – “Some people think coaching Xs and Os and drawing up plays, and defensives and schemes.  But really it’s the ability to get the players to execute.” – Saban
  2. Practice Until You Can’t Get It Wrong – “I always say, ‘You practice something not until you get it right.  You practice something until you can’t get it wrong.'” – Saban
  3. Legacies Are Largely Determined By How You Finish – “Everybody’s got to be all in, especially at this time of year and can’t get distracted, is because the legacy of this team is still out there.  How we finish will really determine the success of this team and some of the most difficult games and challenges we have are still in front of us.” – Saban
  4. Great Leaders Have Great Ownership Of The Team’s Results – “Some of our best players have been our best leaders.  They care the most about the team.  They’re the most competitive guys when it comes to wanting to win.  That’s what makes them who they are as football players.” – Saban

November 26th ESPN College Gameday – Urban Meyer

  1. Great Leaders Have Great Obsession Regarding Their Assignment – “Obsessive is a gift but you have learn how to control it.  I’ve never met a great player, a great coach, a great broadcaster who’s not obsessive about their performance and about doing it right and making sure everything’s covered.  I’ve never met that person.” – Urban Meyer
  2. Great Leaders Respect Other Great Leaders – “I didn’t say ‘like’ but there is incredible respect.” – Meyer for Michigan
  3. Great Leaders Struggle Hate Failure – “I’m not the poster child for letting things go.” – Meyer on handling defeat
  4. Great Leaders Hate Average – “Average is hell.  Why accept that?  It’s so easy to be average.  To hell with that!  We don’t want to coach average.  I don’t want to be around average.  Push yourself to be great.” – Meyer
  5. Successful Leaders Must Manage The Emotion And Anxiety Of Their Teams – “How much emotion vs. how much anxiety you create with the participants in terms of how they perform.  Getting the right balance in that is a key in getting your players to participate in games like this (vs. Auburn).” – Saban

2013 ESPN Monday Night Football – Peyton Manning

  1. Great Leaders Keep Everyone Accountable – “They (Manning and Brady) work at their craft so hard and keep every so accountable out there on the field.” – former teammate Wes Welker
  2. Great Leaders Place Great Emphasis On Minor Details – “After every period, I go to Peyton and say, ‘What did you think of this route?  What did you think of that route?’  It’s those minor little details and getting on the same page.” – Welker
  3. Great Leaders Succeed Because Of Great Preparation – “He wins most of his battles before the ball is even snapped.” – ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer
  4. Great Leaders Can Quickly Process Great Amounts Of Information – “Once he’s at the line of scrimmage he is one of those guys who can take information and do something with it.” – ESPN analyst Steve Young
  5. Great Leaders Are Rarely Surprised.  They Have Great Anticipation – “Anticipatory Calculas.  You don’t have open receivers.  You throw them open…Peyton anticipates better than anyone I’ve ever seen.” – Young
  6. Successful Leaders Enjoy The Mental Aspects Of Their Job – “Wes (Welker) has a great appreciation for the cerebral part of the game.” – Manning
  7. Even Great Leaders Must Heal From Time To Time – “The best medicine (for recovery) is time.” – Manning
  8. Great Leaders Embrace And Leverage Change – “I’ve had enough change here these last two years, difficult and comfortable, to provide stimulation and variety to keep you on your toes.” – Manning
  9. Being A Great Leader Requires More Than Just Talent – “Greatness is more than talent and he has it.  He has character.  He has leadership.  He has the talent and that what makes this guy so special.  He’s a student of the game.  He’s a film room guy.  He’s a gym rat.  He does all the things you have to do to make himself better and make his teammates better.  That’s what makes him special.” – ESPN analyst Mike Ditka

What is one thing you learned from this list which will make you a better leader?


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