Don Shula on Respected Leadership

Reprinted from

Monday, October 19, 2009


It’s more important as a manager to be respected than to be popular.
1. Think back to a leader you had—a parent, teacher, coach, or boss who got great performance from you. More than likely, this was a leader who combined tough and nice. You knew that person cared about you, but that he or she would not let up on you in the quest for excellence.

2. If you, as a leader, demand that your people add value to the organization through their work, you must fulfill you end of the bargain by telling the truth and keeping work standards high. This often means sacrificing popularity in your endeavor to do the right thing.

3. Are you willing to push your people—whether it’s a group of middle managers or a Cub Scout pack—beyond their comfort zone in order to achieve excellence? They might not like what you ask of them, but they will remember you as a leader they respected.
From Everyone’s a Coach” by Ken Blanchard and Don Shula
Donald Francis “Don” Shula is a former professional American football coach for the National Football League.

He is best known as coach of the Miami Dolphins, the team he led to two Super Bowl victories and to the NFL’s first and only Perfect Season. He currently holds the NFL record for most career wins with 347. Shula only had two losing seasons (below .500) in his 32 year career.



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