Tom Landry is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in National Football League History. Landry coached the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1988. His 20 consecutive winning seasons and 29 consecutive years as the coach of one team are both NFL records. His teams also won two Super Bowls, five NFC titles and 13 Divisional titles. Consistency and innovation were his trademarks.
From his autobiography, here are some of Coach Landry’s thoughts on lasting leadership that works:
Knowledge: The first requirement of leadership is knowledge. A leader needs to demonstrate a mastery of his or her field. Mastery means more than just knowing information; it requires an understanding of the information and the ability to apply that information.
Innovation: A Successful leader has to be innovative. Innovation starts with preparation and knowledge. As a leader, you have to understand the present system, situation, or problem you’re faced with before you can react effectively - before you can be a successful innovator.
A Basic Philosophy: Every leader in every organization has to have a clearly understood philosophy. A basic philosophy that everyone agrees on can provide a powerful sense of unity within an organization. But it also means one of the responsibilities of a leader is to make sure everyone buys into the philosophy.
Shared Goals: Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan. It is important to break down the major objective into minor objectives. The resistance we must overcome to achieve the minor objectives will be a major objective until it is attained. Coach said " I don’t believe you can effectively manage people without helping them understand where they fit into the goals of the organization."
Motivation: Real motivaion is built up over time and its foundation is preparation. Careful preparation fosters confidence. That confidence becomes contagious and translates into a lasting kind of motivation that really pays off. A team that has character doesn't need stimulation. The secret to winning is constant, consistent management.
Handling Adversity and Criticism: As a leader, you have to understand you will face adversity. You need to approach difficulties and adversities as a challenge to overcome rather than a problem to worry about. A leader can’t afford to get too emotionally upset about the last mistake or the last play. You have to focus on what you would do differently next time. Sometimes a good leader has to be able to listen to criticism and change his or her plan accordingly. Other times you’re better off just ignoring the critics. The trick is considering which to do when. Consider the source. Perhaps the most important step in dealing with criticism is realizing it's part of the job.
Which of Coach Landry’s ideas can you use to improve your effectiveness as a leader?