Leadership Rules

Whenever I have discussions with my wife (who is an executive in the business sector) about great schools, great corporations or great football programs we always seem to come back to one key, common thread that makes them great. That common denominator is great leadership.  In a school it might be the principal or superintendent, in a corporation the CEO or COO, and in a football program it comes back to the head coach being a great leader.


Just last week I was reading an article in the August edition of the magazine, Fast Company about Education in the United States. The article included a discussion between Anne Sweeney, the CEO/President of Disney Television and Sir Ken Robinson, and Internationally renowned education theorist.

As part of this article, Sweeney shared her three rules for being a great leader:


“Walk around the halls. Eat in the cafeteria. When you show up, it means you are paying attention. It means you want to make sure people know how their world connects to the bigger whole.”


“We are stapled together. We live and die by each other’s successes and failures.”


“Have a conversation. Don’t have it be a reporting relationship.”

I was struck by how much these rules could apply just as well to coaching as they do to the head of Disney Television.

I think, as a whole, football coaches do a pretty good job holding people in their programs accountable… from themselves, to assistant coaches to the players.  But, I must say, too, it served as a reminder to me regarding the importance of these “rules”, and a bit of a “gut check”, realizing that I Can Do More in several areas.

It is often easy to get so caught up with the work that needs to be done (and it does have to get done) that we (I) often put Rules #1 and #3 on the backburner.  Last semester I had 5th block plan… which is an extra long block because all of the lunch shifts take place during that period.  It would have been so easy to regularly walk down to the cafeteria, sit with, eat with, and talk with my players and other students.  I didn’t do it often because there was always “work” to do.   As we all know, there is ALWAYS work to be done.   In retrospect, spending a few minutes eating lunch, connecting with players would have been time well spent.

Communicating as a person, not simply a boss (or football coach) is a powerful “rule” for coaches as well.  Letting your “guard” down occasionally… letting the players see another side of you besides the “Coach” side is not a bad thing… nor does it, or should it be construed as a kink in your amour.  It can show your players you care about them at a level beyond football.

How well are you following Sweeney’s rules for leadership?

For more great information I recommend these links:

Thanks again to PrepsKC for running this column both online and in their weekly print magazine. If you get a chance to go and visit their site and “Like” this post, I would appreciate it!

We Can Do More!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com