Leadership Never Quits. When they do they fall hard.
Leadership never quits. As an organizational leader it is your job to make sure your team, group, or subordinates never sees you quit. It’s the price, you as the leader must endure.
Cam Newton as the leader of the Carolina Panthers quit. With all the hype that is the Super Bowl, there is a leadership lesson that I think most people will have missed.
Everyone will be talking about Cam’s failure to step up and be the leader after the game (http://www.nfl.com/). His behavior was much less than what you would expect from the NFL’s MVP. However, for me it was obvious that Cam quit leading his team much earlier.
It was a moment that most people likely never noticed, and you’re unlikely to see on any highlight reel. It was a simple rushing play that gained no yards, one of many for Carolina. But it was the telling moment showing that Can Newton had quit leading his team on the field.
I recorded the game and was able to locate the moment, that at least for me, showed that Cam Newton had stopped leading his team.
It happened late in the third quarter. At the 3:12 point in the game. Cam handed the ball to Jonathan Stewart who rushes right for no gain. Newton handed the ball off to Stewart and makes no attempt to stay in the play, no attempt to draw the Denver defense towards him moving left. Newton simply handed the ball off and took two steps to his left, looks over his shoulder shaking his head. Newton had no expectation that the play would result in positive yardage. He just looked at the ground and hung his head.
Newton had quit leading his team, but leadership never quits.
Newton continues to take several steps to his left. He has his head down; he shrugs his shoulders, and lightly throws out his hands. He slowly cycles back to the gather the offense. The next play results in a first down pass, yet Newton shows none of the spark that made him the regular season MVP. Newton new that Denver defense was going to continue to dominate the Carolina offensive and I think he was done.
But leadership never quits right? Well it shouldn’t. As a leader it is your responsibility to actually lead. Leading is about influencing others and especially when things are not going your way. It is the leader’s job to keep up moral. It is your job as the leader to stay personally motivated, and your motivation is what sparks the moral and the motivation in others. As soon as the leader gives up so does everyone else.
Can Newton, like many other sports stars, has pushed back against people calling him a leader or role model. Why would he do this? Simply because Cam is mostly interested in the fame, the limelight, and the praise. He’s not interested in being held accountable for his leadership, and in this case his leadership failure.
Can Newton is without a doubt an amazing athlete, and he will be back under the lights of fame. I just hope it's with a little better understanding of his leadership role and with humility.
Being a quality leader is simply hard work. Leadership never quits.
BTW I wanted the Carolina Panthers to win last night.