First, thank you, #EAGLES for an incredible game. Congratulations!
I’d also like to thank Toyota, for leveraging their Super Bowl LII commercial as a platform to underscore the importance of hope, motivation, and leadership. Toyota’s slogan, “when we are free to move, anything is possible” was a beautiful story of Ms. Lauren Woolstencroft’s journey to success. Ms. Woolstencroft was born missing an arm and both legs below the knee. With her chances of winning a Paralympic gold medal, at an astonishing one billion (yes with a B) to one odds, Ms. Wollstencroft beat the odds. She not only won one gold medal but 8 gold medals! This is a true testament to dedication, perseverance and having the ability to move freely. Despite her disability, she proved that “anything is possible” and so did our “#underdogs”, now proudly known as our “#topdogs”.
The game, the stories and the ambiance were not only exciting but, were also informative. There were many strong leadership lessons for all to learn. This became very clear as I scrolled through social media. As I looked at posts reflecting others point of view, I noted there were some posts peppered in the news feed with people feeling marginalized in the workplace setting.
I thought about the commonly referenced quote “hire smart people and then get out of their way”, which has been referenced by several well-known leaders in a variety of industries. They recommend this as the key to strong leadership.
I thought about how many leaders allow their teams to move freely like Coach Doug does? From quotes to passive statements, to full-blown articles, clearly, people clearly want to “move freely” in their role. Having the ability to move freely brings a sense of purpose and meaning to everyday responsibilities. The phrase “move freely” resonates well with the Eagles jingle “Fly Eagles Fly”. I’m confident the Eagles team, leaders, and fans felt ‘free to move to make the impossible, possible’. Do you agree?
Four Key Leadership Themes
While watching Super Bowl LII, four key leadership themes arose that can help leaders foster an environment where staff feels as if they are free to move.
These themes include teamwork, forgiveness, engagement, and empathy.
First, the Eagles displayed teamwork through team dinners, restricted cell phone usage, and their ongoing resilience and persistence. They did this despite being called the underdogs or losing Wentz, their starting quarterback. As a team, they actually embraced the underdog tagline and believed in their backup quarterback, Nick Fowles (who, may I add, was the MVP of the super bowl). Despite the many doubters, the team and Eagles’ family believed in themselves.
When plays or passes didn’t go as planned, forgiveness was seen. Players and coaches continued to stay positive and move forward. Did you note how the Eagles coaches and players didn’t place blame on individual players?
There was, undeniably, an intense amount of engagement among the fans, the players, the administration and the community at large. The engagement fueled the energy on the field. Everyone felt they had something at stake and the energy was contagious. The engagement was powerful.
Finally, Handshakes and special moments shared with the Patriots after the Eagles won the game showed empathy. The Eagles took the time to show good sportsmanship by sharing positive sentiments about the strength of both teams. This helps both teams feel respected and valued.
4 Steps to Empowering Successful Leaders
Coach Doug, like many successful leaders, practice these themes in their day-to-day roles and responsibilities. They empower their teams to move freely by adopting the following behaviors:
- Use positive reinforcement (5 positive sentiments to every 1 constructive one)
- Ask (and accept) honest feedback
- Approach situations with curiosity and not certainty
- Place themselves in their team’s shoes to understand their perspective (practice empathy)
Adding these behaviors to your leadership toolbox decreases blame and vulnerability and promotes teamwork, forgiveness, engagement, and empathy. It is important to always use open-ended questions and ask your team to share their perspectives and recommendations for improvement. Even if you think you are allowing your team to move freely, it only takes a moment to ask for validation. Anything is possible when we take the time to make it possible.
How do you encourage your team to spread their wings and fly? Fly like an Eagle! #leadership #toyota #superbowl2018 #superbowlLII #flyeaglesfly