Nearly a month has passed since Tom Brady won his 7th Super Bowl title, which put him firmly on the shortlist for greatest player of all time – if he wasn't already on it. One thing that I find makes his success over such a long period so interesting, is he is one of the least athletic NFL players overall (let me be clear, he's still amazingly athletic compared to us mere mortals). He is slow for NFL quarterback standards, he doesn't have the strongest arm in the NFL, and he doesn't make mind-bending throws like his Super Bowl opponent, Patrick Mahomes. Yet, all he seems to do is win football games.
Brady is an authentic, powerful leader. A good leader not only succeeds at his or her job, but they elevate those around them. Sure, Tom Brady's individual stats are superb, but consider how he elevates the level of play of the players around him. If you want to zoom out even further, consider the records of the teams Brady has played for. Love him or hate him; the numbers don't lie. He is a true leader.
Here are 3 leadership lessons we can all take away from Tom Brady:
#1: Success is earned, not given. Work harder (and smarter) than everyone on your team.
Setting the example on any team, sales or NFL, is an undisputable leadership principle that many leaders can take for granted. From modeling how to properly conduct an introductory sales call to negotiating a target account contract, leaders must model what "great" looks like. Tom Brady's tireless work ethic is well-documented. He is usually watching film and working out longer (and smarter) than anyone on his team. Brady's former coach Bill Belichick once said, "Nobody works harder than Tom. He's earned everything that he's achieved." So, leaders, let your team see your dedication. Commit to sharpening and perfecting your craft and set the tone of excellence on your team.
#2: Do not just give feedback; seek feedback.
The ability to receive feedback is essential for any leader. However, elite leaders are those who actively seek feedback and receive it with integrity. We all have our blind spots, but superior leaders know there will be things they can do better. They know there is always room to learn. Tom Brady watches film to break down his throwing mechanics, his footwork, how he read a defense during a crucial moment in a game. Ask yourself, "When is the last time I actively sought candid feedback on my performance from my team?"
#3: Educate yourself.
In addition to seeking feedback, it has been widely reported that Brady is a very coachable player. He is continuously learning new things that can help both his game and his body. Brady has a unique approach to how he takes care of himself physically, he has even written a book on his physical and nutritional strategies. He didn't know all of that information when he joined the NFL. He educated himself on what it takes to be the best player and the best leader, both on and off the field. Let this be a reminder to continue your own education. Are there industry conferences or webinars you can attend, training programs you can participate in, or certificates you can work to receive?
Tom Brady is the epitome of an influential, effective leader, and effective leaders get results. Sometimes, though, it's difficult to compare yourself to someone with incomparable success. But the qualities that make Brady so remarkable are human qualities, and we can all strive to be a better leader every day. Let Brady's hard work, ability to receive feedback, and hunger to learn be an inspiration for you as you lead your sales team.
Image source: @Buccaneers. (2021, February 11). Good morning. [Twitter post]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Buccaneers/status/1359864773937102848