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Coach ‘em up, Tony Dungy style

by on
in Leaders & Managers,Team Building

There’s been a lot written in the past few weeks about the demise of humility in our culture. Fortunately, we still have some great examples of successful leaders who demonstrate humility. One of those is the Super Bowl winning former coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Tony Dungy.

I’ve admired Tony Dungy for a long time because of his capacity to succeed in the high-stakes competitive environment of the NFL while maintaining grace and humility whether he’s won or lost. Since I’m a huge football fan and Dungy is on the broadcast crew for NBC’s Football Night in America this year, he has been on my radar a little more than usual these past few weeks.

What brought him to mind was an interview I heard with him on Dan Patrick’s radio show. One of the questions that Patrick asked Dungy was, “What would you have said to the new Chicago Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler, after his team’s 21 to 15 loss to the Packers in the season opener?” I loved Dungy’s response, which was (I’m paraphrasing here):

I would have told him that it’s OK, this is only one game. This is what the pressure’s going to be like from now on and this has been a good learning experience. You can handle it and lead us to success from here. It’s going to depend a lot on how you show up in practice and handle yourself in the team meetings because the team is looking to you as the leader. This week’s game is going to be really important because we don’t want to start 0 and 2. You can do it and you’re going to lead this team.

Imagine how you would feel if you were Jay Cutler listening to Tony Dungy.

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