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Learn from a Leader: Leading Strong Personalities

Strong personalities can be an asset for any team. Often those team members are driven, ambitious, competitive and confident in their skills. They want to forge ahead and are always looking for ways to win. 

It's not hard to see where they stand, but they can present challenges for leaders. 

There's probably a specific person who comes to mind (it might even be yourself) when you think about a "strong personality" at work, but for right now let's look at a different type of workplace environment - an NFL locker room. 

I've worked in NFL locker rooms for more than 20 years. I've worked closely with the Seattle Seahawks as their sideline reporter for 13 seasons. I know from personal experience and observation that the personalities in an NFL locker room more closely resemble your team at work than you realize. There are introverts, extroverts, easy-going guys and strong personalties. 

Effectively managing strong personalities is critical for creating buy-in. That's a big part of the job for Seahawks defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt. He knows that "because I said so" isn't a good response and going toe-to-toe with a strong personality doesn't earn respect. 

The way you communicate is critical when managing strong personalities. Here's what he does in the locker room and meeting room.

If you didn't know Clint was an NFL coach you might think he was talking about the group of people you work with. That's because it always comes back to communication and people. 

Sports provides a great framework for effective communication and a jumping off point to dive into leadership. You can access the entire conversation with Clint (and I highly recommend it!) in the Learn from a Leader library.


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