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A Funny Thing Happened on the Road to the Playoffs

I have a (not-too-well-hidden) confession to make: I'm a New York Jets fan.

I don't reveal this fact to become the butt of any jokes or to gain sympathy. Just the opposite; I proudly chant my team's identifier...J-E-T-S...Jets, Jets, Jets!

As an avid fan, I do find solace in the fact that I'm not alone. Millions of others wear their loyalty openly, prominently displayed via their Sanchez, Chrebet, and Gastineau jerseys.

Despite a less-than-stellar season, the Jets have the ability, and the wherewithal, to regain traction next year. While they have some important decisions to make in the off season, it's ultimately about self-leadership, motivation, and living-up to their full potential.

The Importance of Leadership

You probably don't come here to read about my football fanaticism, so here’s the thing, in a sense, in examining the Jets over the past few seasons that proves to be insightful. A brash and blustery new coach took over in 2009. Rex Ryan burst on the scene in his first press conference, promising a change in culture, a Super Bowl title, and the traditional trip to the White House that follows. Over the next two seasons, he almost delivered.

What happened? We were so close.

Well, it seems – and this may shock you – an entrenched leadership style that conveys the same message over and over again may not effectively inspire team members to elicit their best performance.

Consider the variety of leadership styles and approaches a leader can use.

There are times to be a cheerleader, times to be a coach, times to be a sounding board, times to be a challenger, times to be a collaborator, etc. An effective leader can adjust his style and approach accordingly, while helping others see fresh and new perspectives.

Since every member of the team doesn't have the same individual motivation, adapting and modifying our message to reach all members of the team, to get everyone's buy-in, to get out of the way and let others lead, is critically important.

Leaders Leading Leaders

Now that we know Rex Ryan will be returning to the helm as head coach next year, I look forward to seeing a dynamic and unified team of leaders. Yes, that's plural...leaders -- each player motivated to play full out, energized by the sport they love, and committed to helping one another succeed. Now that's what champions greatness and makes great champions.

As the first playoff weekend approaches, without "Gang Green," I'm already looking forward to next season and having my kids join me once again in our beloved team cheer:  J-E-T-S...Jets, Jets, Jets!!!

Live on Fire!

D. Luke Iorio, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP
President & CEO
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)

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