From Captain to Corporate: Leadership Tips for the Young Leader

By Tyler McDermott – At one point or another, we’ve all experienced the naivety of first-time leadership and battled the nervous energy that comes with greater responsibility. About a year ago, I was given my first chance at formal leadership when I was selected as a team leader at GreatAmerica.  In preparing for the role, I reflected on my past, trying to draw on previous experience. I realized that my last true “leadership” role was almost 10 years prior when I was named captain of my high school football team. As I reflect on my experience, a little over a year into my leadership journey, I found a number of similarities and lessons to be learned by comparing my football and business leadership experience.  Here are the key points I identified:

Remember, You’re Still Part of the Team:  As the football captain, you are still participating in practice and games and you need to use that time to shape the direction of the team. Similarly, as a new leader, there are key components you need to execute on including: pushing people to improve, holding individuals accountable, but never forgetting you are part of the team. You need to stay close to the day-to-day business and understand the struggles and issues your team members are facing. This will lead to increased respect and team members will be more willing to share any problems they are experiencing.


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