Top 30 practices of the greatest leaders


All leaders want to be as successful as possible.  We want to make a difference with our lives and help others reach their full potential.  So the question begs, how do you do that?

In his amazing book Coaching Confidential, Gary Myers takes us behind the scenes and into the personal and professional lives of 10 of the NFL’s most successful head coaches.  Whether you lead a church, sports team, non-profit or business, what we learn from these great leaders is applicable to any leader.

The following are 30 Practices Of The Greatet Leaders:

Bill Belichick

The Greatest Leaders Know Failure Is Not Final – “(Tom) Coughlin and Belichick have won five (Super Bowls) between them , but each was fired from his first NFL head coaching job.”

The Greatest Leaders Respect Authority – “The owner has to be comfortable with the coach and the coach has to respect the owner to create a winning enviornment.”

The Greatest Leaders Build Trust – “Everyone has their idiosyncrasies, but if there is trust, that’s the key in business, in marriages.  You build a sense of trust so you go through rough times.” – Patriots owner Robert Kraft

Sean Payton

The Greatest Leaders Are Humble – “Payton was intoxicated with success and the league felt he ignored its warnings…The NFL will not let its $9 billion a year business be brought down by a group of renegade coaches and players.”

The Greatest Leaders Build Strategic Relationships – “Having (Bill) Parcells on his resume was a good thing for Payton.”

The Greatest Leaders Own The Results – “Anything that happens in the framework of your team and your program, you’re responsible for, and that’s a lesson I’ve learned.” – Payton

Joe Gibbs

The Greatest Leaders Have Compassion For Those They Lead – “Gibb’s compassion and personal frailties showed his strength as a leader.”

The Greatest Leaders Build Unity – “Football teams are like families.  At least the good ones are.”

The Greatest Leaders Put Their Family First – “This isn’t an easy lifestyle for a coach’s wife.  The coach is the guy who stands up and hears everyone tell him how great he is.  The wife is the one waiting at home alone while the coach is spending every night at the office.”

Bill Parcells

The Greatest Leaders Are Great Motivators – “Parcells’s greatest gift in his 19 years as an NFL head coach was being able to push the right buttons with his players.  Every player had a different button.”

The Greatest Leaders Want The Best For Their Team – “I find it problematical when I want someone to succeed more than they want to succeed.”

The Greatest Leaders Know Healthy Tension Is Good And Create It – “Nobody cares and it’s a results business…As Parcells developed as a head coach, he came to understand that creative tension produced better results.”

Tony Dungy

The Greatest Leaders Provide Solutions – “Don’t worry about what’s wrong; look at what’s right and make it better.” – Tony’s father Wilbur

The Greatest Leaders Prioritize Well – “If I had slept in the office, would we have won two Super Bowls or three instead of one?  I don’t thinks so.  I don’t think the trade-off would have been worth it for me.”

The Greatest Leaders Have Proper Balance Between Their Personal And Professional Lives – “Most people that are good at what they do work a lot of hours.  We can’t have a built-in excuse and say we are never going to have balance.”

Jimmy Johnson

The Greatest Leaders Are Supremely Confident – “The only thing that kept me going was my supreme confidence that we were going to get it done.”

The Greatest Leaders Are Always Second-Guessed – “In the world of the NFL, where executives are concerned about being second-guessed, Johnson just didn’t care.  He was going to do what he thought was right and live with the consequences.”

The Greatest Leaders Have Great Respect – “No rich man likes to be shown up by one of his employees.”

Mike Shanahan

The Greatest Leaders Manage Relationships Well – “When you are the buffer as an assistant coach, especially as a coordinator, it doesn’t always work out well between the head coach and the coordinator.”

The Greatest Leaders Have Talent AND Character – “Nobody questioned his (Tim Tebow) character or leadership ability, but it takes more than that to be a successful professional quarterback.”

The Greatest Leaders Embrace Reality – “There are two parts of football.  There is football, and then there’s the business.  They are both part of the game.”

Dick Vermeil

The Greatest Leaders Perform Under Tremendous Pressure – “The pressure I felt in coaching was not put on me by Leonard Tose or Georgia Frontiere or Lamar Hunt.  It was put on me by me, myself, my own pride.”

The Greatest Leaders Prepare Well – “You want practice to be game tempo…Practice fast, practice fast.  And fundamentals.  Nobody is so good that they can’t improve their fundamentals.”

The Greatest Leaders Rest – “A relaxing night with his wife and three kids would benefit the Eagles more in the long run than watching one more tape of the Giants’ kickoff coverage team.”

Brian Billick

The Greatest Leaders Often Do Not End Their Tenures Well – “It very rarely ends well for coaches under any circumstance.”

The Greatest Leaders Need A Little Luck – “(Don) Shula made it to as many Super Bowls with (David) Woodley as his quarterback as he did with (Dan) Marino.”

The Greatest Leaders Often Fear Failure – “The fear of failure drives coaches.  They all know that at some point they are going to be fired.  It’s the nature of the profession.  Only the chosen few are allowed to leave on their own terms.”

Rex Ryan

The Greatest Leaders Support Their Teams – “Publicly, he is always supportive of his players.”

The Greatest Leaders Relieve Pressure And Bring Solutions – “Predicting greatness put too much pressure on his players when his ultimate goal was to put the pressure on himself and take the focus off the players.”

The Greatest Leaders Operate In Their Area Of Competence – “The league is littered with successful assistants who reached the level of their competence as a lieutenant…when they became the decision maker rather than the sounding board, they couldn’t handle the job.”

What are other practices of the greatest leaders?

Brian Dodd –


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