Leadership lessons from the Washington Redskins
Posted on December 5, 2013
I am writing this blog after watching the Washington Redskins loose to the San Francisco 49rs. I know what many of you might be thinking and I am not rubbing in the loss, I will let you know that RGIII, Kai Forbath and Jordan Reed are all on my fantasy team and I really needed them to do great. So is Anquan Boldin…….
I could speak about many things that happened during the game however I wanted to bring up something that took place after the game, the press conference. It was in this setting where RGIII was asked a question that made me tune in and listen.
RGIII was asked the question “Do you consider yourself a great leader?” Wow, right there with all microphones on and cameras focused in on every twitch, no matter how many words he would use, it would all boil down to a yes or a no. Can you imagine yourself and your leadership being questioned like that? After all, you know that they were not asking because they felt he was doing a great job, the world does not do that. Instead, they are looking for dirt, for a reason to attack.
RGIII started his answer by giving his definition of a great leader. To me it was interesting to hear that definition however I wanted to share two topics that the media chose to focus on. The first was a statement made by Santana Moss (or Cowboy killer as I like to call him). Here is the quote from Moss. “As a leader, you understand that if you’re involved in the situation, whether you’re the receiver, the quarterback, the guys making the tackle, whoever. Regardless of the outcome, good or bad, you have to at some point, stand up and say me or I.”
This came after RGII indicated that the reason he was getting sacked so much was that his guys were not getting open. Some took that as he was saying that it was his teammates fault for not doing their job.
The second thing that the media brought up was that in the past 26 sacks that RGIII has taken, he has only been helped up by his team mates 3 times. Now I have not looked at every sack, nor do I think that it is a stat that should be looked into, however it plays into my purpose of writing this blog.
Regardless if you are a Redskins fan or not you have to face the fact that RGIII is a very good young quarterback that took the game by storm last season. He has even been able to persuade me to eat at Subway more often. You also have to face the fact that the Redskins are having a tough season this year. Things are not going as planned and in reality RGII is probably still recovering from his knee surgery.
All that being said, it is in these types of situations that leadership begins to be criticized and put under a microscope, even to the point of seeing how many times your team picks you up. If everything is going well then leadership is never brought into question. After all, isn’t this the same guy who was “leading” the team last year when this same media loved everything he did? What changed?
So is there something that we can learn from this? Yes, no matter how great your talents and gifts are, leadership comes down to dealing with personalities and people. As Santana Moss stated, accept the responsibility that comes with the position. As the leader of the team it is always your fault, good or bad.
When talking to people, a win is something that the team did, for extra points it always helps to call out great things that specific people did to get the win. A loss on the other hand is the leaders fault. After all, leadership is placing the team in the best position to get the win. If the team looses then the leader did not do their job.
There is an old saying that their is no “I” in team, I disagree. Leaders (I), should accept responsibility for the team. We live in a world where everyone wants the fame glory and then it is always someone else’s fault when it goes bad. All you have to do is look at the news and see who is getting sued for coffee being to hot. Great leaders understand that the backpack of leadership is filled with responsibility. If you choose to put it on then accept what is inside.
This week’s experiment: Are you accepting the responsibility that comes with being a leader?