It's that time again - many people's favorite holiday - Thanksgiving! Besides the wonderful feast and having to slog through listening to your crazy Uncle's rabid, half-witted political rants, you get to watch football! So, I thought, what better time than now than to list and comment on some of my favorite leadership quotes from NFL coaches past and present.

Here is my top 10 list:

1. "Leaders are made, they are not born." - Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packers / Washington Redskins

Yes, leaders are made by making the most of the opportunities that they have to rise to the occasion. Sure, some inherited aptitudes like listening, vision and decisiveness help. But, leaders are those that take the lead and have the fortitude needed to inspire followership. We, as business leaders, should provide opportunities and encourage our people to step and demonstrate their ability to lead - that is how strong organizations are built and flourish.

2. "Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it." - George S. Halas, Chicago Bears

Surely, Halas knew that victory comes from everyone doing their best. If you can promote a company culture that encourages everyone's best effort, your business will thrive. How can it fail, if your entire team is all rowing in the same direction and working their hardest to succeed?

3. "Do your job." - Bill Belichick, Cleveland Browns / New England Patriots

A fine complement to Coach Halas' commitment to doing one's best, Belichick's mantra is genius in its simplicity. Belichick has led his teams to 4 Super Bowl victories through a simple insistence that each of his players and coaches focus on performing their assigned jobs flawlessly. He has proven that it's through flawless execution of the game plan that teams win. It is how businesses, like yours, can win, too.

4. "Failures are expected by losers, ignored by winners." - Joe Gibbs, Washington Redskins

Indeed, failure can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fearless leadership is a topic that I've written about in the past. The best leaders have the conviction and courage to make a decision with no fear of failure. And, they have the tenacity to overcome it should their choices prove to not deliver the desired results.

5. "The superior man blames himself. The inferior man blames others." - Don Shula, Baltimore Colts / Miami Dolphins

Perhaps, a corollary of the Gibbs quote, Coach Shula is all about accountability. Great leaders have the character necessary to be humble and take responsibility for their entire organization. Falling on one's sword is not a sign of weakness, as many lesser leaders sometime believe. Rather, it is a sign of great strength and sense of accountability.

6. "If you are afraid of confrontation, you are not going to do very well." - Bill Parcells, New York Giants / New England Patriots

By definition, the mere act of deciding among alternatives means that you are going to leave some of your constituents unhappy with your choice. Superior leaders recognize that managing confrontation comes with the territory. Don't shy away from seeking opposing points of view during your decision-making process. But, once you have perspective, make the call!

7. "The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra." - Jimmy Johnson, Dallas Cowboys / Miami Dolphins

Certainly, there's a lot that goes into "that little extra." But, Johnson's point is well taken. Winners in life, and in business, are willing to do what others are less willing to do. Consistently demonstrate your willingness to go the extra mile and you will create an organization that is worthy of great admiration and ongoing success.

8."If I have to motivate you, I will fire you!" - Chuck Knoll, Head Coach, Pittsburgh Steelers

Gotta love Chuck! He had no time for whiners and crybabies on his Super Bowl winning squads. It's not bad advice. You want to cultivate a business culture that is comprised of people that want to be part of something bigger themselves. If they need to be motivated to give their best effort then maybe they're not right for your business.

9. "When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less." - Paul Brown, Head Coach, Cleveland Browns / Cincinnati Bengals

Paul Brown was one of those leaders that epitomized the notion that the greatest leaders lead with their feet, not their words. After all, it's not what one says so much as it's what they do that counts. Provide a commendable example through your actions and your people will get the message about what is expected of them.

10. "Self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble." - John Madden, Oakland Raiders

There's nothing to add here. Madden said it all!

In closing, I hope that you found these coach's quotes inspiring and that you take the one's that you need to heart. Most importantly, though, please enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday - and, try to not engage too much with that raving maniac Uncle of yours!

Published on: Nov 21, 2016
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