I grew up in the Bay Area as a life-long 49er fan, living through their ups and downs over the years. Seems we’re on an up trend. I know it’s the coach! Jim Harbaugh took a group of talented athletes with a dismal losing record and in his first year, led them to a 14-3 winning season. Monte Pool, San Jose Mercury’s Sports Columnist, wrote about Harbaugh’s simple formula for success. This could’ve been an article appropriate for business leadership, so I’ve summarized some of points he made.
Harbaugh’s simple approach is based on 5 C’s: competence, credibility, candor, communication, and camaraderie. And these 5 words make sense to me. Simple, direct and they are all words that we understand.
Competence: Harbaugh is definitely competent. He has succeeded throughout his career, both as a 15 season NFL quarterback and as a college coach prior to coming to San Francisco. He exudes competence and confidence in his abilities. Strong leaders are competent in their abilities and lifelong learners.
Credibility: His players know that he doesn’t ask anything from them that he wouldn’t ask of himself. Strong leaders inspire through example, not only words. If what you do isn’t aligned with what you say, all credibility is lost. Gone, and it mars everything you’ve ever done. (Think about another coach recently in the news—Joe Paterno’s final legacy–ugh!)
Communication: According to his players, their coach not only pays attention to details, he presents things in a way that everyone understands their role and what they have to do. He also understands what they want and need and what they will tune out. A great leader is succinct and gets to the point. Also, one of the players was quoted as saying, ” I have trouble remembering stuff that doesn’t make any sense, and he makes sense.”
Candor: His team believes what he says and they believe he is honest. He doesn’t “make nice” and he gets to the point and they all know where he stands.
Camaraderie. Yes, that’s team spirit, esprit de corps which is the glue that makes it all come together and create magical results. It’s the enthusiasm, the fun and that invisible energetic field which transforms a group into a team. We can’t manufacture it or even predict when it will occur. When it does, anyone who has every been on a team can feel it and knows it is present.
These are key traits of a strong leader and ones you should consider to ensure a winning season! Go Niners!