Pat Narduzzi is starting his first season as a head football coach. After serving as an assistant coach for 24 years, Narduzzi became the head coach of the University of Pittsburgh football team this past winter. Although Narduzzi is a new head coach, he has proven he has a tremendous understanding of leadership during his first 8 months on the job.
During pre-season camp this August, Narduzzi lived with the players in the on-campus residence hall. He did this so he could be around the players and get to know them. Narduzzi also mixed up the weightlifting groups so the players no longer lifted with guys playing the same position. This allowed players to get to know other members of the team and see how hard they work. For Coach Narduzzi this pre-season camp has clearly been about building teamwork and camaraderie among the players.
This quote from Coach Narduzzi really shows his deep understanding of leadership: “Our kids, if they feel great with one another, if they love each other and have that relationship, and the coaches love the players, the players love the coaches, we’re going to win some football games. To me, we have to know one another. If we don’t know one another, we can’t play hard for each other.” It is rare to hear a leader talk about love. It may be even more rare to hear a football coach talk about love. But Narduzzi gets it. He knows that teammates who really care about each other and who know how much their leader cares about them, will be loyal and committed, and will achieve great things.
As leaders, one of our critical roles is to create an environment where leaders care about team members, team members care about each other, and everyone cares about the customer. We create this environment by modeling behaviors of care, collaboration, and teamwork. So this week, work on showing your team members that you care about them. If the leaders of your organization love your team members and the team members love the leaders and each other, your organization has a great chance of succeeding. Be very intentional about building a team that cares.
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