Leadership Monday: Leaders Come at Any Age

June 15, 2015

 

Tonight may prove to be the night. All of Chicago waits for day to turn to evening as the Chicago Blackhawks will play Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning needing only one more victory to hoist the legendary Cup for the 3rd time in the last 6 years.

 

Leading the charge for the Hawks, as he always does, will be their 27 year-old captain, Jonathan Toews.  Toews is the subject of our leadership session today because he’s earned the respect and recognition of his peers as a true leader.

 

If you’re not familiar with his story, it bears a short re-telling. He came into the league as a first round draft choice of the Blackhawks at the tender age of 19 and was immediately named captain of the team. His reputation as a no nonsense leader preceded him. Hence the moniker, Captain Serious.

 

Whatever it is that goes into making someone a leader Toews had it then and he still has it now nearly 9 years later; only now, because of his experience, he has it in abundance. Here are some of his best traits that I have observed:

  • passionate about his sport and his team

  • driven to succeed not so much individually but as a group

  • confident in his abilities

  • humble enough to downplay his own individual performances

  • focused on one goal — team success

  • prepared – studies his opponent

As the 3rd youngest captain ever in the history of the NHL, he came ready made to lead. He doesn’t settle for mediocrity. He didn’t as a rookie and he doesn’t now. Many of his teammates, even those older than Toews say the reason they push themselves to succeed is because they don’t want to disappoint their captain.

 

What about you, nonprofit leader? Do you lead by example? Do you show the way? Do you exhibit the passion that you expect others to have? Are you humble enough to accept accolades as part of team accomplishment? And, finally, have you succeeded in creating a culture of philanthropy that runs throughout your organization? It’s another way of saying a culture of success, really.

 

Tonight, if you’re watching the game, watch Toews, especially if the Blackhawks are behind in the game. Watch him drive himself harder and harder, not only when he’s on the ice, but when he’s on the bench too. You’ll see him talking to some of his teammates in an encouraging way but glaring at others somewhat menacingly That glare has been described as “the look” his teammates hope is never intended for them.

 

Unspoken leadership? Do you have what it takes?

 

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