What Leaders Can Learn From Watching the Super Bowl

leadership lessons from the super bowlChances are, in a few days you will be watching the Super Bowl. Whether at a party, or home alone, whether you are a true fan of the game or of the Seahawks or Patriots, or are just watching for the commercials, the Super Bowl is more than a chance to relax, root, eat or spend time with friends.

The Big Game offers you a leadership learning opportunity.

It really does.

The players will have a game plan to help them prepare to win and this article is your game plan for gleaning leadership lessons from the game. Unlike the players however, your game plan is a guaranteed winner. Here is a game plan for you –things you can look for that will certainly offer you lessons, ideas and even inspiration for next week at work.

The Power of Persuasion. The Super Bowl is almost as famous for its commercials as it is for the game itself. Companies have hired very smart people and invested very large sums of money to try to persuade you about their products in just a few seconds. As you watch individual commercials, and as you think about them in total, what lessons can you take to help you be more persuasive in your work?

The Importance of Passion and Energy. We expect professional athletes playing in the biggest game of their lives to be excited and have positive energy. In fact, if a team came out with no energy or passion to play, it would be the biggest story of the weekend. Why do we expect passion and enthusiasm from these players, but don’t expect it of ourselves or those around us? Our work is arguably more important and valuable to society than that of these players. What lessons about energy, attitude and enthusiasm can you take from the game?

The Role of Coaching. Cameras will be focused on the coaches often during this game. While they can’t get on the field, make a tackle, carry the ball or make a block, they will have a huge impact on the outcome of the game. This year, the difference in style alone between the coaches is worth observing. That in itself is worthy of reflection – there is truly more than one way to be a successful leader and coach. How is your coaching style helping you and your team succeed?

The Existence of Momentum. I can guarantee you that the announcers will use this word during the game. Why? Because we can see the changing tide of emotion and energy, and because that shift, while intangible, will change the results of the game. Look back on the moments when momentum shifts during the game. There will be lessons for us off the field to help us create this shift on our team. What are you doing to create momentum for yourself and your team?

The Necessity of Preparation. Winners prepare to win. Both teams will come into the game well prepared, and without a doubt, preparation will play a role in the final outcome. Most people don’t spend nearly enough time or focus on preparing to succeed. What does your preparation look like? What type of preparation do you expect from your team?

The Value of Agility and Flexibility. As world class athletes, these players are agile and flexible, but that isn’t what I am talking about. Both teams will have a game plan, and both teams will adjust and tweak the plan as the game goes on. The most adaptable team will likely win. How adaptable, agile and flexible are you? Are you and your team able to shift focus and approach when the situation presents itself?

Each of these themes will have lessons associated with them, if you intentionally look, and they are just a start – rest assured there will be many other lessons. You may see examples worth emulating (or not). You may gain a story to illustrate a point in your next presentation. I don’t know what you will find, but now you know to look. The biggest key to your success in using the Super Bowl as a leadership development tool is to look – when you look for the leadership lessons in this biggest game of the year, you will most certainly find them.

Enjoy the event, the game and the people you watch it with. And hopefully with this game plan, you will gain some leadership lessons as well.


And wherever you are in your leadership journey, we have resources and solutions to help you succeed. Check out some of these resources today:

Remarkable TV: Boosting Your Confidence as a Communicator


Here are two simple ways to improve your confidence as a communicator. http://kevineikenberry.wistia.com/medias/t4wc99cbju?embedType=seo&videoFoam=true&videoWidth=665 Raise your confidence level & you communicate better. And when you … [Continue reading]

The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity


By Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill and Leena Rinne I am regularly told how productive I am. My response is usually to thank the person and then tell them I feel far from that. I suppose by many measures I am pretty productive. If that is the case, it … [Continue reading]