Humility, Leadership and Sports


[vimeo id="91297888"] Last month I blogged about the Super Bowl and the leadership lessons that Peyton Manning highlighted from the Broncos’ loss. Today I want to talk about something a little different, but still related to sports. Every season we see various players from the teams doing a lot of trash talking about other teams and players. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a little competitive instigation, but too many times – these days anyway – the trash talking goes too far.

I think it’s fine for athletes to talk about how they’re the best in their game. However, when they begin to attack other athletes in a personal way, the competitive taste is gone and it opens the door to something very different. It’s no longer about being the best on the field; it’s about hurting people personally and bringing them down in their life journey.

I’ve always admired professional athletes that are able to keep the competition intense on the field and keep friendship alive and healthy off the field. Athletes who build the greatest legacies – the ones that are truly inspirational – are the ones that appreciate the greatness in every other athlete. Honorable legacies in sports are cultivated when athletes allow the greatness in other athletes to sharpen their skills, gifts, and abilities. They don’t tear them down on national television, but they learn and grow from them.

All the trash talking is often associated with confidence. I’d have to disagree with that idea all together. There’s nothing confident about trash talking especially when it tears down people off the field. In fact, it reveals the athlete’s immaturity.  Truly confident athletes let their actions speak for themselves. The same is true in leadership and life in general. People who are the loudest about all they’ve done and accomplished are often the ones who are most insecure and uncomfortable within their own skin.

I’m not saying that athletes should walk through life in false humility. However, I do think some athletes need to do a little less trash talking and spend some more time lifting people up, off the field, rather than tearing them down.

What do you think about athletes and their talk? I’d love to hear from you. Please respond on my blog. Have a great day.