The Language of Winners

Have you ever noticed that great leaders use a common language when discussing their successes? This common language usually manifests when a reporter sticks a microphone in front of them asking them to share the keys to their success.

There are a few “turns of phrase” that jump out to the listening ear- statements that commend the team and organization for their collective efforts and support (i.e. statements of thanks) and a sense of humility for their own major role and contributions. I refer to these two core comments as the “we” and “gee” statements.

If you’re a football fan, you were witness to a great example as Aaron Rodgers of the Champion Green Packers accepted his title as the Super Bowl XLV MVP. He praised his team for their heart and their performance, deflected any praise for himself by saying that he wished he could have done more, and ended by saying that he is grateful to be part of such an amazing organization with incredible fans. This guy nailed both categories- “We” have an amazing team and “gee” (golly whiz) I sure wish I could have helped the offense make the defense’s incredible play less necessary to secure this win. (And he’s the MVP!)

Great leaders avoid making statements that render the opposite impact because they know how detrimental they can be to their team. If you watched the post-game interview with Mike Tomlin, Head Coach of the Pittsburg Steelers, you could see a great leader emerge even in his defeat. As reporters singled out players for their involvement in bad plays, Tomlin quickly said that no one person was to blame for the loss. He said his coaching plan was equally as responsible as their execution. He went on to say that he was proud of his team’s struggle to come back after taking a back seat in first half of the game, and went on to extend his congratulations to the Packers for their Super Bowl win. He was classy, refused to point fingers and lay blame (publicly), and extended his best wishes to the victor. He nailed it.

Monday Morning Perspective:

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” –Vince Lombardi

“It’s easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you’re a winner, when you’re number one. What you got to have is faith and discipline when you’re not a winner.”Vince Lombardi

This week I want to challenge you to focus on the comments you make in both success and failure. If you aren’t lifting your team (family, friends, etc.) up– you’re pushing them down. Sometimes the greatest help we are to others is the verbal “pat on the back” we might otherwise withhold.

Have a wonderful week!

Warmest Regards,

Crystal Dyer

© Crystal Dyer 2011. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 2158-1355



One thought on “The Language of Winners

  1. Crystal – Great post! As an athlete myself, I’m a big believer in the power of the team. Even in solo sports, you need a team to support you on the playing field (e.g., trainer, coach, friends, family, etc.). I most appreciate this attitude in the workplace. Seeing teams succeed and leaders getting the praise. The best leaders realize and publicly make sure they recognize the individuals who helped make it happen. Keep up the great posts!

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