10 Tips On Going From Being A Rookie Leader To An Experienced One

Do you value and properly evaluate experience?  If not, you should.  Growing as a leader is a process and if you are a new leader, it can be overwhelming at times.  The following are just five surprises that awaited me in my first leadership responsibility:

  • Not everyone did what I asked.
  • Not everyone liked me.
  • Not everyone wanted me to succeed.
  • Not everyone understood my intentions.
  • Not everyone was excited about my vision.

If you are a new leader or early in the process, I read an article by Dennis Dillon in the October 25th edition of The Sporting News that I think gives us valuable lessons needed to make dramatic early improvement. 

The following are insights from four NFL head coaches who have recently started their second year in the position.  Notice what they focus on.

  1. Mental Toughness – Resilience is a necessary ingredient in dealing with the unexpected challenges that come with leadership.
  2. Dealing With Criticism Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris states you must “keep it from coming inside your building”.
  3. Messaging – A clear, crisp, and compelling message must be developed and sent “to everyone – coaches, players, your fan base,” and administration – so you can ensure buy-in.
  4. Seeing The Big Picture – A new leader will often focus on their area of discipline only.  An experienced leader sees the needs of the entire organization and how their team’s efforts facilitate corporate success.
  5. Attention To Details – Even while looking at the organization’s global needs, a growing leader understands the value of the slightest detail.
  6. Singular Focus Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley now makes all decisions by asking “Will this help our football team?”  There is genius in this simplicity.  Do you use a similar decision grid in processing your decisions? 
  7. Support Staff New York Jets Rex Ryan has built a strong staff and now “leans on others”.  Leaders, are you trying to do everything yourself or do you have a quality team around you?
  8. Be Aware Of Comfort Zones – What made you a leader will not sustain you as a leader.  You must grow and develop in your leadership while avoiding a natural default mode of going back to your comfort zone.  Ryan had to constantly fight looking at situations not as a defensive coordinator but rather a head coach.
  9. Time Management St Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo discovered that his time was no longer his own.  This is true for all leaders and you must learn how to steward your time.  For more on time management, click here.
  10. Servant Leadership -Spagnuolo states “It’s just more about serving the people you work with – your coaches, your players, staff people – and giving yourself to the whole building.”

If you are a new leader put these 10 tips somewhere that you can access them at anytime.  These four NFL coaches know what they’re talking about and we can learn from their experiences.

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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.

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