“Leadership is influence. Nothing more and nothing less.” – John Maxwell
Having spent decades living in Indiana, and now living in Denver I have seen the aura of Peyton Manning show itself in both locations. He has an engaging personality as well as a strong drive for excellence. He expects much from himself as well as the people he is teamed up with. I once heard former Colt’s coach Tony Dungy relate a story about Manning that illustrates his drive and his leadership in a unique way.
In the first round of the 2007 draft the Indianapolis Colts drafted Anthony Gonzalez a wide receiver out of Ohio State. Gonzalez had some school responsibilities to finish up that were going to prevent him from attending the Colts early team training activities. These sessions were very important for rookies, especially receiver in a Colt’s offense directed by Manning. There was a high level of complexity to it and to excel you needed to earn the trust of the quarterback.
So, without fanfare or obligation, Dungy tells how Peyton Manning drove the 2 plus hours to the Ohio State campus, twice a week, to throw passes to Gonzalez. Manning didn’t want Anthony to fall behind. He wanted him to have the chance to get off to a successful start to his NFL career. Manning also did it because he had a high bar for his leadership and desired to raise the level of performance of the entire team. He knew if Gonzalez excelled, the team, as well as Manning himself would benefit.
This did not get a bunch of press, nor was it part of Peyton’s contractual responsibilities. He simply took the opportunity to pour into someone and make them better. To him, it is just something a good leader does.
Chances are, if you have the opportunity to lead others, you are in that role because someone took the opportunity to invest in you; to get up close to you and use their influence for your betterment and the betterment of the entire team. This is nothing new, nor did John Maxwell or Peyton Manning come up with the idea. Jesus Christ got up close to 12 ordinary men, invested in them, influenced them, and in so doing changed the world. And the result of that influence is still changing the world. Influence is in fact, a profound tool.
This morning ask yourself who in your circle could benefit having you throwing them passes. From you taking a few personal moments with them that could help advance their own influence and leadership; help them thrive. It will make them better, your team better, and ultimately your life easier and more fulfilling. And the impact may well live on long after you.
One of the truly great joys of leadership is seeing those you lead grow and thrive. RK
Live on purpose,