Leaders, It’s Time To Take Out The Trash

Does your life feel like the picture above?  I am currently reading Bruce Feldman’s book Meat Market which is generally considered the greatest book ever written on the subject of college football recruiting.  By the way, it is living up to its reputation.

I was fascinated by then Ole Miss Rebels Head Coach Ed Orgeron’s evaluation of defensive lineman.  This is important because Orgeron, now an assistant at USC, is considered the best d-line coach in the game.  When he is looking at prospects, he wants to know the following:

  • Does the guy get rocked back upon impact?
  • How quick are his hands?
  • Is he stiff in the hips, or can he change direction effortlessly?
  • Does he pursue the play downfield?

But the question that caught my attention as a leader was “Does he keep his feet?”  The reason I find this compelling is the statement – “Thing I don’t like is I keep seeing him going to the ground.  He’s gotta be able to stay out of the trash.”

I have seen many leaders “going to the ground” and unable “to stay out of trash”.  Here are some signs you are stuck in the trash as a leader:

  1. The majority of your day is spent dealing with high-maintenance people rather than your leaders and top producers.
  2. Nothing seems to be coming easy.  All leaders know what this means.
  3. People keep coming to you with complaints.  They are bringing you THEIR garbage.
  4. Your circle of friends all have negative attitudes.
  5. Your day is spent putting out fires rather than advancing the organization’s mission and vision.
  6. You spend time on the maintenance of people rather than investing in them.
  7. You are continually blind-sided.  For more information on this subject, read 5 Words That Haunt Leaders.
  8. You don’t look forward to the day.
  9. You have began to develop a scarcity mindset rather than being generous.
  10. You have no margin in your life.

As a leader if are you experiencing several of these 10 items, you have been knocked off your feet and are stuck in the trash.  Are you a trash man?  If so, do the following:

  1. Re-focus and recommit yourself to the organization’s vision that you believe in.
  2. Purpose that you will spend time only with your leaders and top producers.
  3. Equip your inner-circle to handle small complaints and lead at the lowest level possible.
  4. Begin to start getting wins back under your belt.
  5. Learn to celebrate in a BIG way your victories.
  6. Get plenty of rest.  Vince Lombardi said “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
  7. Grab a Bible and read at least three Psalms a day.  
  8. Give away your time and/or resources to someone less fortunate.
  9. Take a vacation.  “Come apart” before you come apart.
  10. And finally, re-learn to enjoy yourself and your family.

Leaders, do you feel like you are in the trash? Do you feel like a trash man, the one everybody brings their trash to?  Tell us about it and let’s find a way to enjoy your leadership again.

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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.

7 Responses to “Leaders, It’s Time To Take Out The Trash”

  1. Good post Brian! I like the analogy and the advice. It got me thinking of another football/leadership analogy and inspired me to write this post:

    Leaders, It’s Time to Go on Offense!

    • Paul,

      Thanks for the thoughts. I loved how you took my comments and added additional value to them. Liveintentionally.org is a great site! Keep up the great work. We will have plenty of opportunities to comment on each other’s football themes over the next several months.

      How are things at your church?

      Thanks again,

  2. gotofoo It was a great list and needs sharing. I’ve been a blog consumer than producer. I’m trying to change that but there’s #10 in the way.

  3. MsCyberDiva Nice tweet! RT @paulsteinbrueck: 10 Ways To Be More Successful, It’s Time To Take Out The Trash: http://wp.me/pVReH-nP by @BrianKDodd

  4. paulsteinbrueck 10 Ways To Be More Successful, It’s Time To Take Out The Trash: http://wp.me/pVReH-nP by @BrianKDodd

  5. jakesledge RT @BrianKDodd: It’s Time To Take Out The Trash: http://wp.me/pVReH-nP. If you are looking for 10 Ways To Be More Successful, read this.


  1. Leaders, It’s Time to Go on Offense! | Live Intentionally - 09/01/2010

    […] this week, Brian Dodd published a good post titled Leaders, It’s Time To Take Out The Trash.  In it he writes about how Coach Ed Orgeron evaluates defensive linemen. One of the things he […]

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