Seattle is a football town and Seattle loves its Seahawks.
On any given Sunday you will find the masses of Seattle fans in Seahawks jerseys as they cheer on the defending Super Bowl champions. It’s like everyone in Seattle is part of something bigger than himself or herself.
While the Seahawks are a loose community that welcomes everyone, its members and the city as a whole take leadership cues and inspiration from one individual in particular: Russell Wilson, the starting quarterback.
Since he joined the team, Russell has been a leader both on and off the field. As athletic role models go, the city of Seattle couldn’t have done much better.
On the field he leads the team with focus and most importantly: composure.
If you watch a game, even when he is on the run and a play seems to be breaking down, Russell looks calm and composed.
How this relates to leadership: Leaders need to be able to fly above the noise and remain calm even in moments of chaos. If the leader appears calm others will feed off that energy. Even when you are losing people need to see confidence in their leader. Are we going to make it? Will we persevere? The eyes tell the story and on the field, Russell personifies composure.
Another one of Russell’s greatest leadership attributes is his willingness to lead by example.
Every Tuesday you will find Russell at Seattle Children’s Hospital, something he has done week after week since he came to Seattle.
Recently his involvement has helped bring the spotlight to a new immunotherapy treatment for childhood cancer, developed at The Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research that serves as the catalyst for the Strong Against Cancer program.
Russell also encourages the empowerment of others through the Why Not You Foundation.
How this relates to leadership: Every leader needs to put action behind his or her words. There is a difference between believing in something and standing for something. Customers, partners, and employees want to stand behind people who truly stand for something. Talk is cheap. Actions are what matter most.
Lastly, one of Russell’s core leadership tactics resides in his philosophy that the separation is in the preparation. As a world-class athlete Russell has shown what can be done on the field when you spend extra time off of it studying game film and working on the game plan.
How this relates to leadership: For any business to be successful, leaders need to have the same mentality. What is the competition doing? What do our customers want? Are our employees happy and motivated? These are important questions to address and the best way to deliver great answers is to spend the time studying and preparing.
Related: The Secret to Keeping Young, Ambitious Talent? Let Them Go.