Lessons from the Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys suffered a significant loss last week when one of their players, Jerry Brown, was killed in a car accident. Brown was a member of the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. This means that he did not play in the games, but rather was an extra player used in practices to help the starters prepare for their upcoming opponent. As a practice squad player, Jerry Brown was not vital to the team’s success on game days.

But when I heard Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett talk about Jerry Brown, you would never guess that Brown was “just a practice squad player.” Garrett talked about how he roams the hallways and meeting rooms of their practice facility greeting players with his usual, “How we doing, guys?” He mentioned how Jerry always beat him to the punch and said “How you doing, Coach?” before Garrett could get it out. Garrett talked about how Brown loved the game of football and loved being part of the team. He remembered a guy “with this bright smile on his face, bright eyes and a bounce in his step, every time.”

We can learn a great deal about leadership from this brief story. 1) Garrett’s use of management by walking around (MBWA) seemed to really help him get to know his players. He got out of his office and went to engage his players where they were working and preparing. 2) Brown displayed the passion and enthusiasm we all hope to see in our teams. Wouldn’t we all love to have teams of employees who come to work every day with a bright smile, bright eyes and a bounce in their step! Maybe Garrett’s efforts to reach out to his players fueled this enthusiasm in Jerry Brown, and others. 3) It is clear that Jason Garrett really knew Jerry Brown. Even though Brown was not one of his superstar players, Garrett took the time to get to know him. Garrett showed that he cares about all of his players, not just the ones who can help him win on Sunday. Are you getting to know all of your team members? Do you show them all that you care or do you just get to know your superstars? Remember, it takes the whole team, every single person in our organization, to help us be successful.

Make an effort to get out of your office tomorrow. Reach out and engage your team members so you get to know them and in return I bet you’ll start to see bright smiles, bright eyes, and bounces in their steps!

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3 thoughts on “Lessons from the Dallas Cowboys

  1. President Lincoln did the same things. Rather than wait to hear from his military leaders he made it a point to go to the front to meet with them and their troops. He thought it was best to be seen on their turf rather than staying in DC. Lesson from a pretty good leader.

  2. Great comment. It does seem quite basic, but yet, in this day of social media when people spend less and less time in face-to-face dialog, it is even more important than ever that we reach out and engage our teams.

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