Of Gutter Slugs, Leaders and Love

“You boys are the gutter slugs; the front line leaders fighting in the trenches with all the guts and no glory. Be proud of that. Hold your heads high; love the game and each other. Each one of you is a leader, so let’s lead this team to victory. I love you guys!”

I remember those words well, one of many inspirational shout-outs my high school offensive line coach used to give us. A big ol’ Grizzly Adams of a man – SMU graduate and parole officer, Coach Sutton instilled in us a sense of belonging, of understanding our critical roles in the greater game.

Even after long, excruciatingly hot practices in the Central Valley of California where I grew up, when it was time to do the after-practice conditioning – and there was always after-practice conditioning – we complied with minimal grumbling and gave 110% no matter how dog-tired we were.

We loved him and the game. Tons.

That’s tons of love for a bunch of teenage Valley football heroes in the early 80’s. But the life lessons he taught us have stayed with me for decades:

  • Each of must learn to lead our self with love.
  • Each of us must learn to lead with others with love.
  • Each of us must learn to lead their teams with love.

Right on, brother. We knew no other way to play.

Segue – Why do we have such a hard time with leadership and love in the workplace? Lisa Earle McLeod from Forbes.com tells us why we don’t and why we should in an article titled Leadership: What Love’s Got To Do With It.

Myth No. 1: Feelings aren’t professional.

They are the embodiment of life and all things in the workplace. “Emotions are at the root of every human endeavor.”

Myth No. 2: Love is too mushy to measure.

Enough with the measuring; the bottom line will grow when we own our behavior. “It’s about taking responsibility for creating the conditions that will bring out the best in others.”

Myth No. 3: Love means no accountability.

Now that’s just a bunch of garbage. Love is the ultimate accountability. “Love is all about mutual accountability. When you love someone, you expect them to give you their very best.”

Lastly, Lisa writes: “The real secret of lasting success is taking a good, long look in the mirror and deciding that your people and your organization deserve a leader who has the courage to stand up and love them.”

Whether on the front lines or the team captains, everyone can be empowered to lead responsibly with love. Know no other way to play.

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

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