Leadership & Management

Good leaders will always put the well being of the team above themselves.

Leadership skills are a must if you play Quarterback. QBs demonstrate poise, courage and determination. They can take the heat surrounding the tough losses while deferring the praise to those around them on the big wins. Above the mayhem created by opponents and crowds, when the QB speaks in the huddle, his teammates need to see victory in his eyes.

I discovered early in my business career that many of these same traits were just as applicable to leadership and management in the business
world. It is said the best players “slow the game down.” I also believe that the best people managers demonstrate the ability to stay calm, measured and in control. Motivating a team requires the manager to look his people in the eye, listen to their needs, and then deliver a win/win proposition.

The traits of a good quarterback on the field are just as applicable to leading and managing people in the business world.

Case Study

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While EVP at Cartoon Network I had team members in Atlanta, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. We were frequently expanding and bringing on fresh young talent. I have always enjoyed contributing to the development of these new promising team members.

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As I traveled throughout my team locations I developed a “breakfast with the boss” meeting for all new hires. Typically, it was with 3-5 new hires in any given city.
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Prior to the meeting I would study the resumes and make notes on the direction I wanted to take the conversation with each new team member. I always tried to zero in on their strengths and likes about the job and about life.
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During breakfast it was a conversation and not an interview. My comments might be something like “I see you were on your HS soccer team, share with us what that experience meant to you” or “I see you were on the debate team at college, how has that helped you prepare for this opportunity?”

In the end, as they grew on the job, I was armed with information I could apply to their career development. In some cases, this might be a note or article I send them regarding a topic I knew to be of interest. Or, this background knowledge could play a significant role in adding responsibilities or even a promotion. In some cases it might contribute to my alerting them to a job opening in another internal division that I knew to be a passion of theirs. If managers display a propensity of interest and caring for their team members word soon gets out: this is a pretty special place to work.

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