Leadership in Athletics: Selflessness

There are few examples of selfless leadership better than Terry McLaurin, a former wide receiver for The Ohio State Buckeyes. Terry was a two-time team captain for the football team, and he is now a top draft prospect for the NFL. He exemplifies selfless-leadership through his actions and words.

In Terry’s words, selfless leadership is putting things above yourself for the common good. Helping people when they are down or helping people reach their full potential is what a selfless leader does.

It doesn’t mean they’re perfect or a dictator in the sense of telling people exactly what to do and how to do it. It just means they know the culture and expectations of the organization or program they are in, and they try to uphold that in any way possible.

They don’t allow things to come before the team or  common goal. What you give unto others, you usually get back in return tenfold.

To be a selfless leader:

  • Put the team and others above yourself
  • Have faith in the greater good
  • Find your voice by telling others what they need to hear, not what they want to hear
  • Lead by example by putting in the work

During the 2018 season, Terry McLaurin had 35 receptions and earned 107 helmet stickers for great plays that contributed to the success of the team. That means that at least 72 helmet stickers were earned when he didn’t have the ball. Those 107 plays lead to a 13-1 record, a second consecutive Big Ten championship, a Rose Bowl victory and his fifth set of gold pants; those are much better stats than any individual stat like the number of receptions.

Not all leaders are running on football fields, playing in televised games or hearing the wild cheers of an energetic crowd on a weekly basis. Environments and career landscapes will run the gamut, but these lessons can apply to nearly any situation.

Become a truly selfless leader, and you’ll discover your own victories and championships.

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