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7 Leadership Qualities of a True Champion Jonathan Toews, captain of the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks, personifies servant leadership.

By Tom Gimbel Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Jonathan Toews, captain of the Chicago Blackhawks, has led the team to their third Stanley Cup in six years. He is the third youngest captain in franchise history, being named in 2008 at the age of 20. How did he do it?

1. He cares about others.

After winning the Cup, Toews was thanking security outside of the United Center into the early hours of the morning. His teammates share that he is constantly calling to make sure they are doing okay when going through personal struggles. Toews proves that good leaders don't stop leading when the game is over. He's committed to the team and cares about every facet of their lives.

2. He's gained respect.

Toews was the youngest captain in Blackhawks history, being just 20 when he named to lead hockey veterans such as Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, all five to 10 years his senior. Toews let his skills and actions speak for themselves. He earned the respect and friendship first, which in turn earned their trust.

Related: 'Why?' The Question That Changes Lives and Guides Success.

3. His passion is contagious.

Toews loves playing hockey. He believes in management, he believes in his coach and he believes in the organization. He loves the Blackhawks and he loves his teammates. He's an easy leader to follow because he makes you excited, whether you're a fan in the seats or a teammate on the ice.

If you're a fan watching from home, in the seats at the game or a teammate on the ice, Toews' passion is contagious.

4. He means business.

Known as "Captain Serious," Toews is laser-focused. The best leaders are focused on the end-goal and don't let themselves get distracted along the way. They celebrate the small wins to keep their teams motivated, but know not to get too comfortable and that there's still work to do.

Related: 4 Steps to Getting the Best Out of Your Employees

5. He doesn't hide.

Win or lose, Toews is always out front. Whether addressing the team or the media, Toews confronts issues head-on. Good leaders address the good, the bad and ugly. They are the source of confidence for the team when there is uncertainty. The key to effective leadership is how someone reacts under pressure and in high-stress environments. They can make effective decisions fast to create and execute on a plan. He also takes accountability and is the first to take responsibility for a loss. Good leaders take responsibility for the losses and celebrate the team for the wins.

6. He's likable.

Toews knows how to laugh at himself, and he likes to have fun. He knows his teammates as if they were his family…and he cares about them on an equally intimate level. The team wants to listen to Toews and take direction from him. They enjoy being around him, on and off the ice.

7. He's smart.

Many may not know this, but Toews is fluent in French, being from Winnipeg, as well as English, and he understands both intellectual challenges as well as the emotional challenges that any championship-level team faces through the course of time.

Related: 12 Things Truly Confident People Do Differently

Tom Gimbel

Founder and CEO of LaSalle Network

Tom Gimbel is the founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing, recruiting and culture company headquartered in Chicago. LaSalle was named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s "Top Company Cultures” list in 2015 and 2017, and Glassdoor’s 2016 list of “Best Places to Work.” 

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