How to “Be a Leader in Every Way” and other Winning Advice from NFL Coaches
Look back at all of the great mentors who have influenced you—bosses, coaches, professors. Though sometimes challenging, they teach us to achieve higher, go further, and surpass our goals. True team leaders inspire us throughout our careers and throughout our lives. Anthony Griggs learned from some demanding coaches as an NFL professional. And it was these high standards that inspired him to become a leader as a Director of Player Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now Griggs shares his most important lessons learned in leadership—foundations that apply everywhere from the playing field to the board room. Here he discusses some of his most inspiring mentors, the lessons he’s learned, and how business leaders can apply them.
Inspiration: Coach Dick Vermeil, Philadelphia Eagles
Lesson: Being a leader is about more than just working hard.
When I was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, all of the team members were gathered at training camp. As we were seated in a room, theatre style, Coach Dick Vermeil entered the room and began to speak to us. I certainly anticipated a motivational speech filled with Coach Vermeil’s high expectations.
Notepad in hand, I was ready to jot down the list of things that I needed to do to stay on the team. But I was unaware that I was about to learn a skill I would draw upon through my entire career.
Vermeil began his speech by recognizing all of the past players. He painted a picture of their characters—their devotion to the fans and dedication to hard work. He highlighted plays that team members made and what their efforts meant to the team as a whole.
I remember him speaking of Bill Bergey, the great Philadelphia Eagles linebacker and, as we learned, a great inspiration to the team as well. Bill had a knack for communicating with people, Vermeil described. He was able to say things to the players that resonated with them. He could make that personal connection that rallied their spirits and motivated them to succeed.