Dungy Teaches and Models Servant Leadership

I’m putting the final touches on my servant leadership workshop – The Choice of Transformational Leadership: Driven to Serve. Throughout the workshop I will facilitate case studies of people and organizations who exemplify servant leadership. One such person is Super Bowl Champion XLI coach Tony Dungy

I’ve been intrigued by Dungy and his leadership style for years. For those who follow the Indianapolis Colts from a distance we would read about some of the philosophies of Dungy and owner, Jim Irsay, like: hire for character over ability or build lasting relationships or family matters. Things just seemed to be different with the Colts organization.

Then after the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal and his release from prison, we read that Tony Dungy would be his mentor; providing guidance and truth to a young man in desperate need of it.

This summer I had the opportunity to listen to an interview with Dungy as part of the Global Leadership Summit. The topic was that of his new book – The Mentor Leader. It was clear that this would be a wonderful case study for servant leadership.

It is no wonder that Jim Caldwell in the Forward of the book writes that Jim Collin’s Level 5 leadership traits fit Dungy’s DNA perfectly:

  • Embody paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will
  • Display a compelling modesty
  • Attribute success to factors other than themselves
  • Display a workmanlike diligence
  • Set up their successors for even greater success

Here are just a few of Dungy’s quotes on which to reflect:

“Positive, life-changing leadership is an acquired trait, learned from interaction with others who know how to lead and lead well…influencing the attitudes and behaviors of others.”

“It’s important to remember why you lead…leading for the benefit of others is a much more compelling and powerful motivation than leading merely to get ahead or to hit an arbitrary target.”

“Truly serving others require putting ourselves and our desires aside while looking for ways and opportunities to do what is best for other…bettering people’s lives.”

“Part of our purpose in life is to build a legacy – a consistent pattern of building into the lives of others.”

What if more leaders adopted some of Tony Dungy’s admonitions?

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5 Responses to Dungy Teaches and Models Servant Leadership

  1. Matt Wallace says:

    What wouldn’t be considered an arbitrary goal for Dungy? What kind of goal has real significance?

  2. Mark says:

    @Matt – I’m not sure exactly what your getting at but let me share with you one story Dungy told in his interview.

    The night before the Super Bowl game – which they won – he told his team that if they won they would be praised and if they lost, they would be considered bums. Therefore, what matters is not the outcome of this game. Rather it is your character; who you are as a person.

    He actually used the word “significance” in his book and linked it to living from a faith-based perspective.

  3. pell grants says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  4. Could be the top read that I have read this week???

    Young

  5. Pingback: The Steelers’ “Leadership Crisis” and What It Means for the 2012 Season | Pittsburgh Steelers | News, Forum, Photos, Highlights, Scores, Schedule, Blogs, Mock Drafts

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