3 Leadership Qualities I Learned in the NFL to Build My Charitable Foundation
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This column is part of a series formed from a partnership between Entrepreneur and NFL Players Inc. Click here to see the other columns.
Being the leader of an organization is not solely based on talent. You might think leaders are born, but in my experience great leadership comes from great commitment. Three key traits contributed to my success as a leader while starting my charity, the True Foundation.
1. Have a 'cause' bigger than just financial gains.
Your Integrity should follow into your professional life, where it is imperative to making sound business decisions. When establishing the True Foundation with my wife, I discovered that many athletes were using foundations for their own personal financial gain and not to make a difference in their communities. We decided from the beginning that our focus was on helping others. If you’re not starting a charity, then decide how your company helps others.
2. Be a visionary who can help execute.
"Write the vision, and make it plain so they may run that readeth it" Habakkuk 2:2. If you don't know where you’re going, it's impossible to lead others. It is my experience that once you envision your plan, you have to make it easy to come to life. One example from my experience is we wanted to be more effective at reaching the young ladies in our community. Once that vision was clear, we put in the work to implement a life skills and goal setting seminar.
3. Embrace your skill set and develop it.
Determine what skills you need to successfully roll-out your dream and spend the necessary time developing those skills. Sometimes, this requires refining the skills you’ve gained from other areas of your life. As a college quarterback, I never had the responsibility to block any defenders. But once I got to the NFL, that skill was required of me to be a leader on my team. It was a skill that I needed to prove to my teammates that I was willing to adapt and do anything for the success of the team. Becoming a better blocker required lots of handwork but it allowed me to help my team win.
So question your integrity, think about where you want to go and how to get there. Put in the time to develop the necessary skills. Becoming a successful leader takes a person who is willing to put their ego aside, roll up their sleeves and get to work.