As I’ve written before, I’m a huge 49ers fan. I’ve loved the team since the early 90s when they won the championship against the Chargers in 1994. In all honesty, it was my first football bet, and that nerdy little sixth-grader won an ice cream party as a result of their win. At age 11, I couldn’t help but become a fan. Since then, I have been keeping an eye on their success and learning their history.
Before I was a fan, the 49ers were an even more unbelievable team. Once lead by legendary quarterback Joe Montana, the 9ers were one of exactly two teams to give their quarterback a 4th championship ring. Since that decisive 1990 victory against the Denver Broncos, leadership scholars have been studying Montana’s style of leadership. You see, in order to lead a team to that kind of victory takes more than great ball playing skills. It takes a level of leadership that inspires men to be more than great.
When you’re a leader, you’ve got to be willing to take the blame. People appreciate when you’re not pointing fingers at them, because that just adds to their pressure. If you get past that, you can talk about fixing what went wrong.
– Joe Montana
In many interviews, public speeches, and published works, Montana attributes his leadership ability to one primary trait; a leader must be willing to take the blame for a failure, even if it wasn’t his fault. Montana says that he would, for example, tell his coach that a bad hand-off was his fault, even when it meant getting chewed out. This, in conjunction with great preparation, will allow you to take the pressure off of your team, giving them the breathing room that they need to be at their best. Montana feels that humility, preparation, and leadership go hand-in-hand and will serve anyone well.
What about you? Have you ever stopped to take the blame when something went wrong on your team, especially when it wasn’t your fault? Share your stories of both accepting responsibility and having a leader do it for you in the comments below, and have an awesome Tuesday!