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Monday, February 8, 2016

Leadership Lessons from Super Bowl 50 Champion, Peyton Manning

Photo Courtesy of NFL Instagram
Whether in his Leadercast conversation with Bill Rancic, his interactions with his teammates or how he handled media relations leading up to yesterday's Super Bowl 50, Peyton Manning offers a plethora of leadership lessons for professionals in many different industries. At 39 years old, Manning was the oldest quarterback to start in a super bowl and, therefore, the oldest to win one. After 18 years in the National Football League, Manning has a wealth of knowledge to share; as a huge football fan, I've followed Peyton Manning's career, and here are the top five leadership lessons he's shared that resonate well with me:

1. Learn to thrive on being uncomfortable. As Manning explains, "As much as a quarterback would love a perfect pocket every time, it's not real life." With that in mind, Manning practices "awkward throws", and his coaches push a blocking dummy into his feet to simulate a pass rush. For workplace leaders, the lesson is to escape your comfort zone so you can fuel groundbreaking ideas. You might be amazed by how trying something new or working amidst chaos will push better results.

2. Find a new way to do the old job. After 14 years with the same franchise, the Indianapolis Colts, Manning had to switch to the Denver Broncos at the start of the 2012 season. At the same time, after a year off necessitated by four neck surgeries, Manning had to adjust to a new physical state in some specific ways: he became skilled in throwing shorter routes, learning to get rid of the ball much more quickly. Although some may refer to him as a "game manager", his focus on studying the competition and his team's game plan have proven to be his greatest assets in achieving success at keeping his team in position to win amidst very different circumstances than he's faced ever before. As Manning explains, "I've looked for different ways to move the chains and put us in a position to win"; likewise, for workplace leaders, the world around us is constantly evolving so we must continually tweak our products, services, processes and tools.

3. Work hard. Manning has a legendary work ethic. It has been documented regularly that he would not have succeeded as he has without the hours and hours he has invested in practice, film study and throwing repetitions. He's often the first to arrive and last to leave the stadium, and his teammates point out his intense efforts regularly. For workplace leaders, it is important to be intentional about what we want to improve; then, proactively schedule actions to work towards getting better. Focus on a series of small action steps that you can realistically complete as you work diligently towards achieving your goal, taking baby steps every day.

4. Invest in a coach. When recovering from his neck surgeries, Manning relied on his former position coach at the University of Tennessee, David Cutcliffe, and, to this day, Manning likes working with him because, as Manning explains, "Cutcliffe does not hesitate to yell at me for my mistakes". Likewise, Manning continues to rely on his former head coach at the Indianapolis Colts, Tony Dungy; immediately following his win in Super Bowl 50, Manning quoted his most recent advice from Coach Dungy, and Manning has not wavered in repeating the same refrain. For workplace leaders, once you find someone whose authority you respect, encourage them to push you diligently to meet higher and broader demands of life with each step in your growth and development.

5. Understand how success stems from relationships. Many refer to the old saying of "it takes a village" as a cliche; however, to me, it is a fact of life, and I have found the same to be true for Manning. As he stated, "You can have the swagger of a winner, but never be convinced that your greatest accomplishments are made alone." Manning's greatest joys and successes have resulted from his working with and helping others. For workplace leaders, it is imperative to surround yourself with those who share your mission, vision, values and desire to achieve better. Together, everyone achieves more and can attain much better results.

Looking for more insights from Manning that can better your day-to-day results? Read Brian Dodd's "Live Notes from Leadercast - 56 Leadership Lessons and Quotes from Peyton Manning".

Have you found success using any of these tactics? Which can you implement now for even greater results?

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