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?