What The Best Leaders Will Learn From Peyton Manning (But Most will Ignore)

He’s won one Super Bowl, so far. He’s been the NFL’s MVP 4 times, set numerous records, and more are likely in his future. He was recently named The Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. And for the next few days will be among the most talked about and read about people in the world.

And that is before he plays in his third Super Bowl.

His name is Peyton Manning. He is a quarterback and media darling.

And whether you like (or care) about football or not, if you desire to be an outstanding, or dare I say Remarkable Leader, you have much you can learn from him.

Peyton Has Coaches

Here is a short list. John Fox (head coach), Adam Gase (offensive coordinator), Greg Knapp (quarterbacks coach). There are several other offensive assistant coaches and strength and conditioning coaches too. The best performers (at anything – including leadership) have coaches. A coach can provide feedback and a fresh perspective, ground you, hold you accountable and much more.

Earlier this year (though I can’t now find the article), I read something that quoted Peyton saying the longer he plays, the more he needs and values coaching. By the way, did you notice that one of the greatest quarterbacks in history still has a coach just for him and the other quarterback on the roster?

Who are your coaches? How are you using coaching to help you improve?

Peyton is a Coach

I will nearly guarantee something like that will be said during the Super Bowl. Yes, those players all have other coaches too – and yet, as a leader Peyton has a role to be a coach as well. You will see it between plays, see it on the sidelines, and see it in the comments players make about their experience in playing with him.

The best leaders are coaches to others. How effective are you as a coach to your teammates?

Peyton Expects Commitment

The stories are legendary of the extra work receivers put in when Peyton is their quarterback. Come early, stay late. Come to extra practices he schedules in the off season. Hey guys, come join me off season, on your dime, to practice and hone your skills. He doesn’t just tell them to do it, he initiates it, organizes it, expects it, and is the first one there. And his teammates deliver.

Oh, and the commitment leads to better timing and results on the field too.

Do you expect the highest levels of commitment and lead by example?

Peyton Attracts Others to Join Him

Peyton isn’t making hiring and firing decisions like you might be able to do. And even though he can’t actually hire, and even though the commitment and work required to be his teammate are well known, people want to be on his team. Harder work, longer hours, higher expectations, and greater productivity and more wins.

Are you a leader people are clamoring to work with and for?

Peyton Works Harder Than Most

He is the son of a great quarterback. He was the number one pick in the draft. He has achieved all of those things I’ve already mentioned. And still, no one out works him. Does he have a great background, stand 6’5” and has some athletic ability? Yes.

And he still outworks nearly everyone else. First on the field before games. First in the video room. Hard. Work.

Too many leaders have forgotten how hard they used to work. Yes, you may put in lots of hours, but are you working as hard and with the focus that you could?

Peyton Prepares (a Lot).

Another comment that will be made about Peyton during the game will be about his preparation. One of the reasons he is able to run the offense and make the calls he does during the game is that he knows as much about the other team as they do. Even when he gets a day off from practice to rest his ankle, he still wears a helmet to listen to play calls and watches game film in the ice tub. (I found this example in an article that was part of the inspiration for this article. I strongly urge to read it, thinking about you as a leader as you do.

How prepared are you as a leader? (And how prepared is your team each day and week?)

I hope Peyton’s team wins. More than that though, I hope you will watch the news this week and the game differently as you think about the points I’ve made above and how you can employ them in your work and life.

Many who read these words will nod and change nothing. Thanks for reading.

A few of you truly understand the value of the example Peyton can be to you and will begin to implement these ideas in your life. For you accept your thanks not from me but much later from those you lead and coach, from those for whom you will be an example and from the organizations and Customers you serve.

……………………………

Two final notes:

If you are interested in having a leadership coach, contact Carl and my team and he can help you determiner if one of my coaches could be of assistance to you.

If you are looking to improve your coaching skills, please join me in Las Vegas for our next Remarkable Coaching Workshop on May 28-29.

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Comments

  1. Jary says

    Kevin…great and timely message (even if you are not a football fan). It will a different game for sure, watching him play with this in mind.

  2. Lowell says

    It may or may not matter to your readership, but Manning is also a devout Christian who, unlike his predecessor in Denver, does not make a public display of his faith but shows its impact in his character.

  3. says

    Peyton Manning is only the 2nd quarterback to start in the Super Bowl with two teams (Kurt Warner is the other). So you can say he is not a product of one team’s system. So what can we learn from him:

    1) He is fully engaged in his job

    2) He is committed to excellence and prepares himself and his team to achieve it

    3) He has arrived yet and is open to instruction and guidance

    It will be interesting to look forward 10+ years and see what other NFL QB’s we can say the same about, possibly Russell Wilson or Andrew Luck?

  4. Steve S. says

    There comes a time when even great leaders need to learn new lessons or retire. I think that time has come for Peyton.

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