Talent is never enough …
This is something all young leaders eventually learn. Young leaders may be energetic, fast, intelligent and full of ideas. However, a lack of maturity could derail all of these positive traits.
As I collected the thoughts from very smart leaders this week, maturity seemed to be a central theme.
ESPN’s NFL Matchup host Sal Paolantonio noted in this morning’s incredible episode that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott converted seven of eleven third down opportunities against the New York Giants in week one. When asked his thoughts on why Prescott was so effective on third down, Louis Riddick said, “#1 is his maturity and #2 he’s gotten more comfortable and he’s continued to develop a rapport with on of the best 3rd down receivers in the league Cole Beasley.”
The following are three things we learn from Riddick’s comments:
- A sign of maturity for young leaders is performing at a high level during pressure situations.
- A sign of maturity for young leaders is becoming comfortable in the system they operate in.
- A sign of maturity for young leaders is developing a rapport with those who are critical to their success.
Another maturing leader discussed was second-year quarterback Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles. Fellow analyst Greg Cosell noted, “Wentz’s big plays (in week 1) came outside of structure.” A sign of maturity for young leaders is making adjustments, thinking outside the box, and finding solutions when things do not go as originally planned.
Later on, the conversation shifted to Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning. As a 14-year veteran and two-time Super Bowl champion, Manning would certainly qualify as a mature leader. Riddick observed, “Their franchise quarterback, he’s suffering from a few things – a lack of protection, a lack of timing in the passing game, and a lack of trust in his wide receivers without Odell Beckham, Jr.”
The following are three additional things about mature leaders we learn from Riddick’s comments:
- Even mature leaders perform at subpar levels when they do not have a quality supporting cast around them. In Manning’s case, this is his offensive line.
- Conflict and chaos can make even mature leaders uncomfortable and thus, less productive.
- Trust is the foundation of any successful team.
On of the final comments of the episode was by Riddick who concluded, “It’s a team game until it isn’t. It’s a team game until we start trying to point a finger at someone.” A sign of maturity for a leader is holding their team together during times of crisis.
After NFL Matchup I switched the channel to watch ESPN’s College Gameday. I heard two sobering comments young leaders need to be aware of:
- Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said, “Any decisions about any personnel are strictly based on who gives us the best opportunity to win whether it’s right guard or quarterback. It’s always been the case.” A sign of maturity for young leaders is a lack of a sense of entitlement. The world is a meritocracy. Your leadership opportunities are often based on performance.
- Kirk Herbstreit emphatically said, “5-Star recruits sometimes think they are more important than they really are. They’re very replaceable. They’re a dime-a-dozen.” A sign of maturity for young leaders is humility.
In the September 18th edition of Sports Illustrated, writer Andy Staples made an interesting observation. Of the top 50 high school quarterbacks from 2011 to 2014, Fox Sports noted a surprising 46.9% of these 200 players transferred from their original schools. I glean seven lessons on maturity from this unhealthy trend:
- To develop maturity as a leader you must develop a sense of patience and contentment.
- To develop maturity as a leader you must embrace competition.
- To develop maturity as a leader you must embrace the developmental process.
- To develop maturity as a leader you must learn to deal with failure.
- To develop maturity as a leader you must learn to persevere.
- To develop maturity as a leader you must be committed to the success of others.
- To develop maturity as a leader you must put the success of the organization ahead of your personal success.
Ken Mastrole, a private high-school quarterback coach, said, “There are a lot of guys out there who act like they can play on social media. But then you really pull back all the layers, these guys have to be mature. (Florida State’s James) Blackmon is quiet. The best quarterbacks I’ve seen are quiet about how they handle their business.” A sign of maturity for young leaders is respect.
Switching to baseball, Boston Red Sox vice president of player development Ben Crockett said about the players they look for, “It starts with the acquisition phase. Our scouts have done a great job identifying good hitters who have the ability to recognize pitches and have a good approach at the plate. We’re certainly looking for power, but we’re big believers in pitch selection and attacking that pitch when you get it.” A sign of maturity for young leaders is discipline.
Finally, I want to make an observation I gleaned from an article on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the August 28th edition of Sports Illustrated. All-Star third baseman Justin Turner tells the team’s younger players, “This is the only team you’ve ever know. This is my fourth organization, and it’s by far the best one. The money’s going to be there wherever you go, but you don’t know how it’s going to be in the clubhouse.” A sign of maturity for young leaders is chasing a healthy culture more than chasing money.
If you are a young leader, what is one thing from this list you learned about maturity?
How is God encouraging you today?
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