“The Heart Of A Leader”

January 25, 2010

From the New York Times this last weekend:

“Ryan turned one of the N.F.L.’s most clandestine operations into an open book. The Jets collapsed at the end of 2008 in part because of the tense atmosphere. Ryan changed that, changed a culture, changed the way people felt about coming to work.”

This comment from a media source caught our attention in that the last part of it is what every coach would love to see happen on their team. When your players want to come to practice, 2-a-days, the games, the meetings, the PR functions, the press conferences, etc., that says something. It does not matter what level you coach at. When your team “wants to come to work” it says something about you as a leader. To motivate people to follow a vision takes those individuals buying into what one believes in and as a coach, inspiring a team has to start in your heart and then be transferred to your players. To play as a team requires a total collective buyout and not just a few team members. One of Rex Ryan’s former players, Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens was quoted as saying that Rex had the heart of a father. Your leadership as a coach has to begin with caring more about the player than the plays he makes. Otherwise you prostitue the player and he becomes just an object to your own selfish motives. When you care about someone, then you can lead them somewhere.