Super Bowl 51 is just a few days away and Bill Belichick is on the cusp of winning his 5th Super Bowl as a head coach. I love studying why winners are winners and how their leadership characteristics have led to tremendous success. Here are the 4 key characteristics of Bill Belichick’s leadership style:
#1) He makes everyone a shareholder of the team and focused on a common goal
When you play for Coach Belichick, you feel a sense of ownership in the organization and each player is focused on accomplishing the same goal. As he says, “What I’ve always told our team, and what I thoroughly believe in, is that every member of our team – players, coaches, support staff and so forth – is a shareholder. They have a share in the team. Are they all exactly equal? Of course not, but they’re all shareholders. Every member of the team has an opportunity to show positive leadership or negative leadership.” As a leader, make every member of your organization feel a sense of ownership in what they are part of and each share the same common goal for what they are working towards individually and collectively. Consider calling them all “shareholders” to emphasize a sense of true ownership in what you are looking to accomplish.
#2) He knows exactly what characteristics he is looking for from members of his team
As Belichick says, “talent sets the floor; character sets the ceiling.” In any professional sport, there will be an abundance of talented athletes at your disposal however oftentimes character is what separates the good from the great. The two characteristics he looks for in any potential player he is considering drafting or signing are passion and intelligence. In his experience, he has found that those with a genuine passion for playing the game of football and those that have an above average “football IQ” are the ones who deliver the best performance over time. Leaders know specifically what characteristics they need out of their players in order to maximize success. What are the key characteristics you are looking for out of members of your organization?
#3) He doesn’t look back and is constantly focused on the next challenge
It has become almost comical for reporters when interviewing Belichick because he only will discuss the next team that they are playing – as he states, “If you sit back and spend too much time feeling good about what you did in the past, you’re going to come up short next time.” He keeps his players focused on the immediate challenge only and doesn’t muddy the waters by giving them other stuff to worry about. As he says, “In the end, I would say the biggest key to it is the communication and having people that have a passion for the same thing you’re trying to do.” Keep your troops focused on the next thing they are trying to do and it will allow your entire organization keep focused on the most important task at hand. Always know what is your next primary challenge and make sure all of your team is focused on it!
#4) He develops specific expectations for each player on his team
As a leader, Belichick develops the master plan for his team and then tells each player specifically what he needs from him in order for that team plan to be executed. Once each player is given a specific job, he is then held accountable throughout the game for executing that job – he knows that if each player executes his job perfectly it is darn near impossible not to win the game. As a leader in an organization, help each individual on your roster develop a specific plan for what they need to accomplish and then support them throughout their execute of that plan – if you do this with each individual, and they are collectively working towards a common goal, your likelihood of success is very high.
Tom Healy delivers a keynote program called “Limitless Leadership” that challenges students to tap into their extraordinary leadership potential. You can learn more about this program by clicking HERE. He has also just released a book with the same title, which you can learn more about HERE.