"Few things are harder than to put up with than the annoyance of a good example." Mark Twain
In the book, You Win the Locker Room First , former Atlanta Falcons coach, Mike Smith, talked about, All Pro tight-end, Tony Gonzales. Gonzales, who may be the greatest tight end to ever play in the NFL, was a contagious locker room leader. He wasn't vocal, but led by his actions. His leadership began with his daily routine. Before, during, and after practice he was always putting in extra work.
Coach Smith wrote, “He would get to the field about 15 minutes before practice started and work on catching passes. Almost every free minute during practice he would spend working on the skill of catching the ball or refining his footwork coming out of breaks to improve his route running.”
Tony’s actions became contagious. After a few weeks the entire team began working on specific skills during their free time in practice. Quarterbacks and receivers began setting up their own routines to improve ball catching and route running. It even spread to defensive and other position groups.
This type of leadership can change an entire team and organization. One person, who makes the decision to do a little more, can become the difference maker in the overall success of the team. I’ve seen it happen in sports and business. Every great team needs one of these types of leaders. They set the standard for everyone else.