In football, the quarterback is arguably the most important position to any team’s success. The players who protect the quarterback from getting sacked by the other team are called the offensive line. A great offensive line allows the quarterback to take the time he needs to make decisions in a fast-paced game. Just look at any accomplished quarterback who has reached the height of his career and what what you will find is that he had a superior offensive line. These great quarterbacks know all too well that without these guys they would fail. In fact many quarterbacks have been rumored to buy expensive gifts for their offensive linemen to show their appreciation. A quarterback is only as good a the team who believes in him and is willing to go to battle alongside him.

Real leaders understand that it is their team’s hard work, as much as their own, that helped propel them to the top. To achieve any vision, you have to be diligent, focus on building and maintaining a strong and dedicated team. And this is done directly through the leader’s actions. Remembering at all times that leadership is not a title. We all know that just because someone is placed in a leadership role it does not make them a leader. A title might make them a boss it does not make them a leader; never confuse the two. It doesn’t matter if you are a new leader or a seasoned leader we all need to huddle up from time to time and check our game plan. Because we all know that with a strong and motivated team, there is little you cannot accomplish, but with an underappreciated and undervalued team, there is little you can (Molly Fletcher).

So what are some practical ways to ensure that you are leading your team and showing your offensive line how much you value them?

  • Spread the success – always be the first to tell others about how your team’s expertise and hard work made the project a success
  • Demonstrate that you care – personal thank you’s go a long way. Even today where we all read electronic books and send text messages there is tremendous power in a handwritten thank you mailed to the person’s home
  • Invest in them – Depending on the size of your team and the span of your work this will play into how much time you can spend with your team. However, we can all find the time to invest in those we lead. Investment comes in all forms, it might be a short thought for the day you can share with your team to motivate them. It might be a video you found helpful or advice you received from a mentor. Investing is sharing of ourselves.

A great leader is never worried about who gets the credit, they are not afraid to say I do not know and most importantly a great leader knows that nothing of real significance can ever be achieved alone. After a game when the sportscaster begins the interview with the game’s MVP listen to the first words out of his mouth. Almost without fail you will hear the MVP say I could not have done it without the other members of my team. This guy may be paid the most money, he may be the most scouted in the league, but he knows that his talent can alone only take him so far. He has to have those around him willing to give their best so he can give his. This is no different in our professional lives, we too need those around to be great and they need to know we will great for them too. We need our teams and they need us. One of my favorite examples of this is Tom Brady and Bill Belichick this combination has dominated the sport of professional football. The coach (Bill) knows that player (Tom) will give his all on the field and both men have a deep respect for each other. This respect and trust was built over time and with significant investment.

So do you really know your offensive line? Equally as important do they know you. Do they know that you could would not succeed without them and do you give them reason to be the best they can be for you? It is not enough that we work hard for ourselves, in order to have a culture that breeds success we have to be willing to work hard for those around us. As some of us mourn the close of another football season let us remember there is no offseason when you lead. So get out there and spread the success, demonstrate you care and invest in your team.


@chriswalden on Twitter


photo credit US News


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