Leadership Advice from Carson Wentz
Last evening I had the opportunity to hear Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz speak about leadership at the Lancaster Chamber Annual Dinner. Mr. Wentz addressed a sold-out crowd, sharing about opportunities he’s had to hone himself as a leader both on and off the football field.
If I could distill his speech down to one word it would be integrity. Effective leadership is grounded in trust. In order for people to recognize a leader and want to work with them to accomplish a goal, they need to see that leader as someone worth following. Wentz engenders this trust in his teammates and others by consciously striving to be a man of integrity in all situations. Pursuit of this mindset, he believes, is paramount to being a successful leader.
With this (amazing) grounding in place, Wentz gave us a bit of practical advice: learn to adapt. Adaptation is a crucial skill in all areas of life but is especially important for leadership. Cultivating the ability to change and grow as new set-backs and challenges come your way ensures that you will be able to change your approach when needed and continue leading.
Wentz also stressed the importance of planning and preparation. Write the plays, communicate the details and do the drills. Being prepared and understanding what you are trying to accomplish is the first step in achieving any goal. When those plans fall apart, those adaptation skills you’ve been working on will be there to help, but the first step is the plan and prep work.
Another hallmark of a good leader is focusing on values and value-based decision making. Learning to lead by following a set of values and using them to guide your way is much more effective than operating by a set of rules. No set of rules can fully account for the spirit and core values of your team or organization. Keeping these guiding principles at the forefront is a transformative and highly rewarding paradigm shift. This idea goes hand-in-hand with integrity and will help you lead a more fulfilled and prosperous team.
Wentz places a lot of value on the idea of servant leadership. Keeping the view that as a leader your role is to uplift and serve those around you may seem unusual to some. But Carson credits his leadership success with actively focusing on this idea and implementing it in all areas of his life.
Being a leader is not easy. It requires hard work, courage and problem-solving. It takes a commitment to putting in the time and constantly evolving, while never losing sight of the rock you’re standing on and the values that guide you. Leadership is not for the faint of heart but is definitely worth all the effort.
Leadership is about dialing-in and maintaining focus on a goal and doing everything you can to help others help you reach it.