(2018 Hall of fame Linebacker inductee, Ray Lewis, entering Raven stadium)
Leadership is a necessity for all successful teams. Sometimes we are tricked into giving coaches too much credit for the accomplishments of great teams. Oftentimes great teams are led by the players themself. With off-season workouts and spring ball for most athletes approaching, new leaders are starting to form with-in teams. It is important to start developing qualities of great leadership today. Here are three qualities that must be exhibited by all respected and successful leaders:
Leaders must exhibit discipline and integrity. Discipline is a direct result of leadership. In the realms of football, players must be disciplined in doing their job in order to contribute to their team's success. It is important for leaders to be respected amongst their teammates. They must be not only vocal but be able to lead by example. They must display the exact qualities of discipline that is demanded from their teammates.
2. Work Ethic
As a leader, you must be willing to be the hardest worker on the team. A leader is responsible for setting the standard for their teammates. If the leader of the team is skipping workouts, not running hard during conditioning, or not putting in the work in the classroom then it sets a bad precedent for the other players on the team. Work ethic equates to the amount of effort you are willing to dedicate to your craft and teammates. “Effort is between you and you.” This quote comes from Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis. Ray Lewis is one of the greatest leaders to ever play this sport and he will always be remembered for his leadership and work ethic. His dedication to the game through his effort was inspiring to everyone he played with and even against. This is one of the few qualities that made him a great leader.
Perhaps the most important quality of a leader is holding not only yourself, but also your teammates accountable. This often happens to be the most difficult task of a leader. Being a leader puts you in a compromising position with your teammates. Leadership makes you subject to being an outcast because not everyone likes to be pushed or called out. You must first make sure you are doing all that needs to be done for the team before you call out your teammates. Then you have to determine when and how to constructively confront teammates who are performing below the team's standards. You must tell people the truth about their performance (good/bad) face to face. This task can be daunting but think about great players across sports teams like Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, or Kobe Bryant. They may not have been most popular amongst their peers at the time but their teams achieved great heights and I guarantee their teammates are appreciative of their leadership today. All great teams have players who are constantly pushing their teammates to understand that good is not good enough.