Servant Leadership Lesson: Tony Dungy At Chick-Fil-A Leadercast

Tony Dungy’s story and success in both the NFL and life read like a case-study in Servant Leadership. Below are some of the highlights from Tony Dungy’s Chick-Fil-A Leadercast interview.

Note: This post is the third in a series of Servant Leadership Lessons from the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2010.

Tony Dungy - An Example of Servant LeadershipMark Sanborn interviewed Tony Dungy in a pre-recorded meeting. Dungy’s story and success in both the NFL and life read like a case-study in Servant Leadership. If you’ve not read them, I highly suggest his books, particularly the first, “Quiet Strength”. Below are some of the highlights from Tony Dungy’s Chick-Fil-A Leadercast interview:

  • Q: How do we get people “unstuck”?
    • “Energize them…Show them the potential they have… what they are truly capable of.”
  • Q: How do you get others committed to your vision and mission?
    • You need to explain, “It’s about more than us, the big picture, the whole team, the whole community… Even more than teamwork, the ultimate goal that all of us can strive for. That’s what you have to sell.”
  • Q: What if they’re struggling before they see progress?
    • “You have to talk about perseverance…Show the examples that may not be obvious. Explain that this is not the time to give up, we’re close… Let them know we’re in it together.”
  • Q: You have a Mentor-Leader book coming out in August, can you tell us a bit about it?
    • “The Mentor-leader helps people get where they want to be” (vs. pushing them).
  • Q: You have a very different coaching style than the stereotype in the NFL, can you explain why / how?
    • You must “be yourself, you have to lead in your own way, don’t imitate others”
  • Q: You’ve flagged players in the NFL as “DNDC” – What does that mean?
    • “Do Not Draft Because of Character…”
    • They had the talent, but something in their makeup would not make them a good addition to the group or team
  • Q: Do you think Character is taught or caught?
    • A little of both
    • You need to take people w/ potential and build those character traits in
  • Q: How do you avoid the “big head” syndrome after success?
    • His mother taught him “it’s important to understand where your success comes from, and it comes from the Lord.”
    • He also referenced a poem from John Wooden, given to him by Dungy’s High School coach:

Talent is God Given; be thankful

Praise is man given; be humble

Conceit is self-given; be careful

  • Q: Sometimes you must mentor and sometimes discipline as a coach, how do you handle this?
    • “All coaching is mentoring and disciplining is part of it”
  • Q: How do you ration your time and energy?
    • That’s always the dilemma for him
    • “You want to be the best at what you’re doing…people at work are depending on you…people at home are depending on you… Family has to come first – that’s who’s going to be with you the rest of your life.”
  • Q: Any other thoughts you’d like to leave with the audience?
    • “God’s put you where you are for a reason. You are impacting a lot of people, whether you know it or not.”
    • “The biggest thing you’ve gotta have is perseverance”
    • “You can make an impact today, right where you are.”
    • Look inside you, figure out what you can do and you can be the one.”

Again, I highly recommend Dungy’s books as they are packed with Servant-Leadership material. It sounds like his forthcoming book this Summer, The Mentor Leader, will continue down this path. My gratitude to Tony for his continued support and promotion of servant leadership principles.

More From Tony Dungy

Website: http://www.coachdungy.com/
Latest Book: The Mentor-Leader (08.03.2010)

Mark Sanborn interviewed Tony Dungy in a pre-recorded meeting. Dungy’s story and success in both the NFL and life read like a case-study in Servant Leadership. If you’ve not read them, I highly suggest his books, particularly the first,

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Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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