Posted by: A.R. Cherian | September 23, 2009

Two bosses who lead with a quiet strength

A couple of years ago the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears faced off against each other in Super Bowl XLI. Only one team won of course, but behind them were two successful head coaches who inspired their teams to become winners in life no matter the outcome of the game on Sunday – and both of them did it with leadership styles you wouldn’t expect in the NFL. They are Tony Dungy of the Colts and Lovie Smith of the Bears.

A WSJ Online article talked about how those two men set a counter-example for many screaming bosses – that you don’t have to yell or berate your employees to get them to perform at their best. I can’t agree with that notion any more. It’s just unhealthy for the organization’s culture to have a boss who constantly belittles his employees privately and publicly. The boss may be a high performer, but for how long and at what cost to the organization? Employees will leave and those that stay will have low morale. It’s a form of psychological abuse (like bullying) and will cost a company dearly as the article illustrated.

It’s never too late to change your style and your organization. The first step is to realize that there are other, better ways to run your company. A good boss leads with the respect of his fellow employees and without unnecessary bravado. There’s no good reason for a boss to act macho around others.  Dungy and Smith showed that this can work even in one of the most macho environments on earth. We can all learn a lot from them.

Tony Dungy went on to author a book called Quiet Strength that chronicles his rise to the top and his philosophies on coaching, faith, and life. I am an admirer of his coaching philosophy and as someone who shares his same faith, it is good to see that he has put his faith into action in a beneficial way to his organization. I did not know Coach Lovie Smith shared the same philosophies and faith as well until today.

Below are two videos that highlight their philosophies for their organizations and their lives. It’s interesting how the football players reacted to their styles. Worth a watch.


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