Leadership Styles Of The NFL’s Top 10 Coaches


In this week’s Sporting News, there is an interesting article from the magazine’s staff and editors determining who are the NFL’s best coaches.  Each of the current 32 NFL coaches were graded in the following categories:

  • Championships
  • Won-Lost Records
  • Creativity
  • Motivational Skills
  • Ability to Limit Turnovers/Penalties
  • Hiring and Maintaining a Quality Staff

Using those six categories as a barometer, the following are the Top 10 NFL Head Coaches as determined by The Sporting News as well as what makes their leadership distinctive:

  1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots – Work ethic and preparation.
  2. Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints – Disciplined, fair, but also very fun.
  3. Jeff Fisher, Tennessee Titans – Cares about his players.
  4. Mike Shanahan, Washington Redskins – Treats them like men.  Albert Haynesworth, are you listening?
  5. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers – Changed some of his coaching style to become more successful.
  6. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles – Just keeps winning and having success.
  7. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants – He’s won a Super Bowl so he’s on the list.
  8. Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals – Brings attitude and discipline.
  9. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens – 2 Seasons as a Head Coach.  2 Play-offs.
  10. Rex Ryan, New York Jets – As good a game day strategist as there is in the league.

Here’s the first thing I notice about the list, as a leader you must first produce to have any credibility.  Otherwise, Mike Shanahan would not be on a 2010 list but he did win two Super Bowls in the 90s.  For a list this year, I would remove Shanahan and Ryan and add Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers and John Fox of the Carolina Panthers.

The second thing I notice is that aside from winning, leadership is very complex.  There are multiple styles and approaches that create and maintain influence.  As a leader, you must determine which style works best for you.

Work ethic, Preparation, Discipline, Fun, Compassion, Respect, Change, Sustained Excellence, Production, Attitude, and Strategy.  Do any of these describe you?

For future leadership insights, please subscribe to this post or click here.

Also, as a gift to you for reading the entire post, here are the highlights of the 2009 NFL season to whet your appetite for next season.

About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

6 Responses to “Leadership Styles Of The NFL’s Top 10 Coaches”

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