“If You Lead, They Will Follow”

By: “The Other Coach K,” David Kelly,
High School, College and Professional Football Coach

As the Christmas season is fast upon us, I wanted to share with you a topic that I have spent a inordinate amount of time Studying, Observing, Experiencing, and Thinking About – – – it’s the much written about topic of “Leadership”.

Leadership is not just a topic, but an area that deserves attention in all facets of our lives. In this blog I want to share some “Common Traits” that I have experienced throughout my athletic and professional career from those leaders who have proven to be extremely effective.

Hopefully, the information you read here will invoke some introspective thinking that causes you to add to this list, or develop your own list of “Characteristics”. As I begin, I want to open with this quote from a famous football coach regarding “Leaders”:


Leaders aren’t born. They are made. And they are Made just like anything else, through Hard Work.

–Vince Lombardi


1. What’s Your Style:
Everyone who aspires to become a leader must develop a certain style. As a leader, you need to know exactly how to drive your leadership forward. You must access your strengths and weaknesses, and surround yourself with those who compliment you. This is an essential step in becoming a great leader.

2. Be Approachable:
To be an effective leader, you must show positive friendship to those on your team. They must always feel good about working “with” you, rather than working due to intimidation. To follow you, there must be a certain level of comfort with you.

3. Inspire Them:
A disillusioned group of people will not achieve meaningful success
and will eventually plot a leader’s downfall. Make sure the people you
lead are always inspired, and in turn, your success will follow.
Inspiration gives members the spirit and heart of “giving out” their very
best in ensuring that tasks are delivered positively.
*Everybody will give “a little bit more” and everybody will do
“a little bit more”.*

Landry4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate:
The best method for a leader to connect well with team members is by using the right and effective channels of communication. One-on-one communication is most effective. Regardless if you are communicating orally or non-verbally, your message must be passed effectively. Lastly, to become a good leader who communicates well, you must be an excellent listener. By lending an ear to your team members, communication will follow.
*Effective Leaders are aware of how important words are in life, and the effect they have on others.*

5. Where Is Your Passion:
For people to follow a leader, you must have great ENTHUSIASM for what you are doing. Start by thinking of different ways that you can express your zeal. Let people know that you are excited about their progress.
*Passion means having “Energy, Excitement, and Focus.”*

6. Creativity:
Creativity is the nucleus of quality leadership. You must be able to come up with new ideas to keep moving the team to greater heights. A creative leader commands respect and team members will follow your footsteps, which is the main achievement in leadership.

7. Be Innovative:
By always doing things the same “old” way, you will continue to get the same “old” results. Try out new strategies that will make your efforts productive.
*When you want something that you have never had, you have to do something that you have never done.*

Mandela8. ATTITUDE Determines Your Altitude:
Quality leaders possess a Positive Attitude. As a leader, you have to remain upbeat that everything will be okay even when challenging times arise. Never give up easily, and always remain confident that you will achieve your goals no matter the situation. When you are faced with a challenge,
you look for a way, not a way out.
*Effective leadership is “Overcoming Adversity”.*

Dungy9. You Are The Role Model:
People yearn to have a leader who will show them the right way to do things and become successful. Your positive behavior will encourage people to follow your ways and this will play a key role in making you an effective leader. You need to be someone who others want to emulate.

10. It’s Us, Not Me (Inclusivity):
You will not be a good leader when every decision is made independently of the team. A good leader involves their people in the decision-making process by taking into account their thoughts and ideas. This step is essential for success. Involving others in decisions creates an “accountability/ownership mentality” that forms an unbreakable bond.
*A Championship Culture is created when everyone is accountable to his teammates.* Even when you are in charge, you still need help from others.


“It’s about the journey – mine and yours – and the lives we can touch, the legacy we can leave, and the world we can change.”

— Tony Dungy

After consuming all of the information above, I want to summarize
it with my own personal assessment:


“It’s about the journey – mine and yours – and the lives we can touch, the legacy we can leave, and the world we can change.”

— Tony Dungy

A “True” Leader is one who breaks all of the stereotypes,
….. possesses great wisdom,
….. has undeniable power,
….. yet, uses that power compassionately, for the sake of others.

A “True” Leader isn’t concerned about a powerful image.

A “True” Leader has that “It” factor.

**A “True” Leader is someone who can make us do what we thought we couldn’t do.**

Great Leaders set Great Goals, and they insure that those who follow them know what those goals are.

In closing, I hope you have enjoyed the blogs in 2014 half as much as I have enjoyed composing them. I am extremely excited about sharing more Ideas, Thoughts, and Experiences with you in 2015!

As you enter the joyous season of Christmas, and all that goes with it, please remember:

“First the Thrill, then the Bill.”

Until the Next Time,

The “Other Coach K”

Leave a Reply

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *