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Being a Leader in the Workplace

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What makes a leader? Do you have what it takes to become one? And what would a leader do in a situation like the NFL faces with protesting?

As a leader, defining organizational values and culture is part of your responsibility. How do you define values to your team? Do they understand the expectations of their work? The controversy this week between the President and the NFL has captured many headlines. Reflecting on this issue, how do you feel leadership in the NFL has responded? As a leader, would you want your employees to publicly protest in their workplace? What steps would you take to resolve the issue?

I admit, I do not know enough to help negotiate through the NFL issue. But it is a great case study. I believe that defining the culture and the values that you expect of your organization is the first step. The more difficult step is being a living example of the culture you define every single day. Isn’t it true that your leadership is tested the most, when you least expect it. Are you ready?


© Flickr user Shotboxer Portland

In case you don’t know the whole story, it began with Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem. He did it to protest the amount of black men who lose their lives to police brutality. The effect this has had has been enormous, whether you support his reasons or not. There have been videos made by fans tearing up their season passes and jerseys. There have been videos of fans kneeling along with the players in their own homes. A resounding theme recently heard is “stick to sports” as Andrew Brandt from Sports Illustrated pointed out.

In my class at Villanova last week, professor Glenn Bracey, a scholar in social movements and race, said this of “stick to sports”: “‘Stick to sports’ is particularly offensive when you’re talking about a group of people who are among the wealthiest and known people of color in the country. What you’re basically saying is, ‘Dance for me boy.’ I consider it a form of co-optation.”

So what’s the answer? It’s a really difficult area to navigate. Should employees be able to protest while they’re working? What we all need right now is the right type of leadership to see us through this, and that includes leadership at work. Let’s turn to a post by our own business consultant, Robby Slaughter, to help shed some light. He listed 5 great ideas leaders should embrace if they wish to be successful:

  • Successful leaders are driven by passion.
  • Successful leaders are never finished learning.
  • Successful leaders believe integrity is everything.
  • Successful leaders believe people are their greatest asset.
  • Successful leaders are courageous.

Do you possess these traits and are you embracing them in your leadership role? If not, why not start now? Take the time to address each one of those ideas and try to implement them into your life. Robby ended the article with something that I find very important, that anyone who finds themselves heading a department at work, leading your household, or owning a football team should take to heart.

The Universal Truth of Leadership: There Are No Universal Truths

It’s probably not the case that there is a list of things you must do to be a great leader, without question. But there are plenty of good ideas. Study them. Review them. Think about them. And put them into practice.

These five suggestions are worthy of your consideration. No matter who you are leading—whether it’s a team of hundreds or only yourself—be passionate, keep learning, have integrity, value people, and be courageous.

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Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown is an executive coach who is passionate about personal development. He works to make a difference in people's lives by empowering them with skills and knowledge that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in. Mark has been coached, mentored, and certified by John Maxwell and his team. This coaching certification allows Mark to successfully coach and train individuals, groups, organizations, and companies.
Mark S. Brown


Executive and Business Coach at New Roads Leadership. A founding partner of the John Maxwell Team. We coach for your personal success!
Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown

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