What to see the excellence that is produced by great leadership? Look no further than this year’s Super Bowl. The battle of two great quarterbacks.
And here is how I know it is leadership: check out this article in the Washington Post.
Let’s break it down according to the definition of leadership.
First, Mahomes is learning. He’s studying, he’s practicing, he’s building expertise in his personal tradecraft. He knows the plays, he knows his motions, he knows the opponents. He’s a great physical athlete and football player.
But he’s not just growing his athletic performance, as the article makes clear. It’s that he – and Andy Reid – encourage learning in the team. Mahomes has the freedom to experiment in how his team completes the work, and he uses this freedom to improve the other players' individual performance and therefore the combined output of the gorup. These guys are challenging themselves to find ways to be better. They’re performing Ericsson’s “deliberate practice” as a group.
To connect that learning to a vision, this is a team that demonstrates they are building relationships. Starting with the most basic interchanges – how practices are run, how new ideas and therefore risks are managed, and so on – the way that players and coaches relate to one another allows each member to perform his portion of the work. Each player has the things he needs to be successful.
We can see the outcome of these interchange relationships in the emotion relationships that form when players have what they need to be great: this is a team that loves Mahomes. They are committed to winning and they believe that everyone else on the squad is equally committed. This has the effect of demanding excellence in each members’ individual tasks; they do not want to be less than excellent because they know the guy next to them is trying just as hard.
Mahomes understands the value of hard work, but hard work only creates excellence when the underlying relationships allow individual performances to be combined properly. The Chiefs are doing that, as we can see on the field.
And the payoff for those relationships is the ability to turn a vision into reality. Mahomes has a vision of success – for himself and for his team. Even Brady sees this in him: “Stay with the process and keep being who you are.” Mahomes hits all five factors of the story of vision, particularly belief and possibility. It is strength of these specific functions that set him apart from every other team who wants the change in the form of their own Superbowl ring. These are not easy functions of vision, but they are critical when every other team has the same goal. And this is why his team rewards him by reflecting that belief back onto him, and then turns the vision into the reality of a winning season.
All together, this kind of unrestrained leadership creates and environment that produces excellence. And make no mistake: there’s a reason that the Bucs will be lining up against the Chiefs. It’s because Brady does the same things for his team, even one he’s been with for only a season. Think it’s hard to change the direction of an organization in a short amount of time? That’s your answer.
Oh, by the way: we can see the three Ts here, too: it isn’t Mahomes (or Brady’s) natural talent that got them to this degree of excellence. There are lots of great athletes out there, but only one Mahomes. Rather, his success is due to hard work and the right approach. That’s what Redefine does for leaders.
Struggling to understand what this approach looks like in your organization? Come talk to us and we’ll help you figure it out.