The best leaders recognize buy-in and support is critical for success, which is why they actively seek ways to support other leaders within an organization. It’s what K.J. Wright does inside the Seahawks locker room because great leaders are good followers. They understand the importance of backing decision-makers.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is the ultimate decision-maker for the guys inside the Seahawks locker room. But the team is only as successful as individual players and leaders inside the locker room allow.
The same is true in your work environment. A CEO is only as effective as his or her leadership team allows. Winning requires support from other leaders.
K.J. Wright shared his approach to that responsibility in the locker room when he was a featured leader for July’s Learn from a Leader session.
Buy in.“When it comes to supporting leaders you personally have to listen to what they say,” K.J. says. That doesn’t mean you have to take everything at face value, but it does mean you have to allow yourself to be led by that leader. Having the experience of following that leader allows you to buy in and show support for his/her decisions.
Spread the message.“You know sometimes Coach Carroll has players only meetings with some of us guys.” K.J. explains. “He tells us what he wants to say to the rest of the team we go there and do it.” Leaders are called on to communicate effectively and deliver messages that resonate with team members. That means they characterize the message that convey the intent and directive of the leader and choose the words that support the leader’s message instead of calling it into question or second-guessing decisions.
Hold leaders accountable. If you do encounter a situation where a leader might be off base or missing the mark, accountability is key. “All leaders don’t make all the right decisions all the time,” K.J. says. “So if I definitely see something when it comes to that I’ll say something.” For K.J., recognizing that a coach or teammate is acting differently could be an indication he should say something. For example, a coach changing the game-plan at the last minute or a teammate forgetting their responsibilities on a certain play could prompt him to ask, “Is everything okay, you’re acting differently today?” or “This is contrary to way you’ve coached us up in the past, are you alright?”
Applying this leadership approach is easier when you’ve already made it a goal to leave a team or an organization better than you found it. That’s how K.J. described his mentorship philosophy. Which is why if he “sees something he’ll say something” even if it means he’ll lose his job one day to the players he’s mentoring. Take a look:
If you would like the entire interview with K.J. and the workshop session that followed, PLUS lifetime access to the Learn from a Leader series – all you have to do is register and take advantage of this limited time offer of $197. Every month you’ll get virtual access to a different leader, a recorded copy of the session and a chance to workshop their takeaways and implement new leadership skills right away.