January 14, 2015

(day 18)

It’s easy to care about people who produce results, do what they say, and are generally “good” people. It’s not so easy when people don’t live up to our expectations or standards.  It’s really hard when we see individuals with potential who act and behave in ways that makes it hard to “care about them”. Yet those are the ones who really need our support.

Leadership is about caring enough to help someone discover their talents and then help them to broaden and strengthen their capabilities.

Unfortunately, we often give up too early. We see the resistance; we’re annoyed with the “attitude” and get upset with the lack of trying.   And as a result, we either get rid of the person or walk away.

This morning I heard an interview with Urban Meyers, the Ohio State Football coach talking about CardalHelping_Others_Succeede Jones. He described Cardale as a “case study”.  Apparently Cardale, despite his natural athletic talents had an “attitude”.   Recognizing his talent and the challenges of Cardale’s attitude, Coach Meyers told Cardale that with hard work and team alignment, he would do all that was necessary to fully develop his talent.   He also advised Cardale that if his attitude didn’t change, his future was  questionable.

In addition to the physical conditioning, Ohio State offers a leadership program to its football team and during one of these sessions, the lightbulb went off for Cardale.  He realized that his success was dependent on his relationship with the team – how much he trusted them and how much the team trusted him.  His physical prowess would not be enough, he had to put the team first.   From that moment, Cardale recommitted himself to building his physical skills and contributing to the team.   The hard work and refocus paid off and we were able to see what Coach Meyers knew was possible. Both Cardale’s physical and leadership skills as a quarterback shined brightly in all the post season championship games.

“You have to do it by yourself, And you can’t do it alone” Martin Rutte

What a loss and waste of talent it would have been if Coach Meyers had not cared.   In his caring and concern for this young man, he had the fortitude to be straight with him and the patience to support him. He also had the wisdom to teach Cardale that success comes from expanding our view from ourselves to others.  It’s about transforming the context from “it’s all about me” to “it’s all about we”.   That’s leadership!