For the 2nd time in 3 years, the Clemson Tiger football program, led by phenomenal Head Coach Dabo Swinney, has won the NCAA College Football Playoff Championship. In just a decade, Swinney has transformed Death Valley from a forgotten place to one of the toughest places for opposing teams to win. Because of Swinney’s unique leadership style, Clemson University is now a elite football powerhouse and their coach has evolved into one of America’s best leaders. Here are three leadership lessons we can take from this world class coach.
You Can Have Fun & Win
Whether on the sidelines before a crucial third down or fielding questions from the media, Dabo Swinney is always having fun and that seems to spill out to his entire program. Great leaders exude an infectious, contagious energy that inspires their team to do more.
You Don’t Have to Be a JERK to Win
Treat your staff and players with ultimate respect. Great leaders don’t berate and humiliate their staff in public, nor in private for that matter. Great organizations foster a consistent culture of mutual respect, which is upheld by leadership. Dabo Swinney has always been respectful to staff, media, players, parents, and to the fan base.
Don’t Shy Away from Tough Decisions
Early in the 2018 season, Dabo chose to demote senior QB Kelly Bryant, who was 16-2 as a starter at Clemson, for an untested true freshman in Trevor Lawrence. After a stellar season that produced 30 touchdown passes from Lawrence, an unbeaten record, and a national championship against the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide, Dabo’s tough decision clearly paid off.
Let me know if the lesssons above are helpful to you as a leader. Thanks for your leadership!