25 Things the VERY BEST Leaders Do

Leaders want to be successful and make a lasting impact. But how?

All leaders want to be the very best they could possibly be. They want to be effective. Leaders want to be successful and make a lasting impact.

I recently completed Lars Anderson’s incredible book The Storm and the Tide. Anderson parallels the 2011 national football champion Alabama Crimson Tide’s on-the-field accomplishments with the role they played in helping to rebuild Tuscaloosa after the devastating April 27 tornado.

As I read the book, I pulled out a series of quotes that teach us 25 Practices of the Very Best Leaders:

1. The Very Best Leaders Do Not Take Success for Granted—“Success doesn’t breed success, only hard work does.” —Nick Saban

2. The Very Best Leaders Do the Lonely Work. The Work No One Sees—“We win national championships in the weight room.” —Josh Chapman

3. The Very Best Leaders Have Exceedingly High Expectations—“Because four *%#$ losses (in 1982) is too *%#$ many.” —Bear Bryant on why he was retiring after the 1982 season

4. The Very Best Leaders Do Not Make Excuses—“The Lord expects you to block and tackle.” —Bryant when told, “The Lord just wasn’t with us, Coach.”

5. The Very Best Leaders Have High Character—“We wanted to know if he (a potential recruit) had the drive to succeed and the character to handle all that we were going to demand of him. It’s hard at Alabama. It’s not for everybody. You can’t be an ego guy at Alabama.” —Jim McElwain

6. The Very Best Leaders Have a High Standard of Excellence—“The biggest thing I started to learn at 11 years old was how important it was to do things correctly. There was a standard of excellence, a perfection.” —Saban

7. The Very Best Leaders Understand How to Leverage Failure—“When you let one bad thing that happens to you affect other things, sometimes you create more negative consequences than you like.” —Coach Saban’s father

8. The Very Best Leaders Have a Lot of Support—“Our fans are a powerful recruiting tool. … You come here, man, and nearly everyone in this state will be behind you.” —Saban

9. The Very Best Leaders Are Greatly Admired—“Everybody in Tuscaloosa looks up to Alabama football players and coaches.” —Governor Robert Bentley

10. The Very Best Leaders Are Continual Learners—“I’ve learned twice that everything can be taken away from you at any time. The only way to get through it, I’ve found, is to help others.” —D.J. Fluker

11. The Very Best Leaders Depend on Jesus—“If you reach out to Jesus, He will heal you. … God has a purpose for everyone who was affected by the storm.” —Carson Tinker

12. The Very Best Leaders Serve Others—“You cannot be a leader and affect other people if you’re not willing to serve other people.” —Saban

13. The Very Best Leaders Are Examples for Others—“Who was the greatest leader of all time? Was it Julius Caesar because he almost conquered the world, or Alexander the Great? I would think it was probably Jesus Christ, who had no army and had no power. All He did was serve other people and set an example.” —Saban

14. The Very Best Leaders Surround Themselves With Talented Teammates—“The jockey doesn’t carry the horse, it’s the horse that carries the jockey. He (Saban) knows he needs talent to win.” —Phil Savage

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Brian Dodd
Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.