Leadership Lessons from RG3

I was disappointed when the Redskins knocked the Cowboys out of the playoffs last night. But I confess that—even though I’m a Cowboys fan—I’m finding it hard not to pull for Robert Griffin III. He’s a phenomenal talent, but there is much more to him than that.

In an interview yesterday with The Washington Post, he gives us a glimpse into how he took the reins of leadership on his team and how he became a team captain as a rookie (virtually unheard of). It’s a story of leadership, character, and humility. It’s a case-study of proverbial wisdom fleshed-out in the life of a 22-year old.

Young men, take heed of the example here. King Solomon said it this way: “It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself If his conduct is pure and right” (Proverbs 20:11). The lesson is this. You don’t become a person of significance by running your mouth. Put your hand over your mouth and “be an example among those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:12). The old adage is right. Actions speak louder than words.

I recommend that you read the entire interview, but here are some highlights:

“My strategy was to come in and try to lead by example first. Being a rookie, you don’t want to come in talking right away. You can rub a lot of guys the wrong way. .?.?. One thing you can’t do as a leader is come out and say you’re the leader.”

—–

By this point in training camp, Griffin had become well known around Redskins Park as the first to arrive each morning and the last to leave each evening.

“I made sure I showed up early. I stayed late. I worked hard in practice,” Griffin said. “I brought a different type of attitude to practice than they were used to, [a feeling that] every day is a game day. There were some feisty practices between the offense and the defense — just a lot of chirping and a lot of intensity, which is something [teammates] said they hadn’t experienced before. So I just tried to bring that attitude, and then let the game play speak for itself.”

—–

Griffin surprised teammates — most of whom only knew of him as the flashy college superstar and ace pitchman for Gatorade, Subway, Adidas and Nissan — by being overwhelmingly unassuming and humble.

“When I first met him, we were passing on the stairs [at Redskins Park], and he stopped me and said, ‘I’m Robert Griffin III. I’m the quarterback they drafted in the first round,’?” recalled fullback Darrel Young. “I just looked at him and thought, ‘Yep, we’re going to be just fine here. This kid is as humble as they come.’”

—–

Griffin led the Redskins on a potential game-winning drive in the final minutes that flamed out when wide receiver Josh Morgan threw the ball at opponent, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. As the final seconds counted down on a crushing loss, Morgan sat alone on the Redskins’ bench, with his teammates staying far away — until Griffin came over, patted him on the head and whispered something in his ear.

“He just told me to keep my head up and keep going,” Morgan recalled. “Yeah, it did mean a lot to me. He didn’t have to do that. With all the hype and anticipation, you think one thing about him. But then you see him, and he’s a normal kid — a normal kid with a big heart.”

Griffin didn’t do it to prove his leadership skills. Few people even saw it happen. He did it because he thought Morgan could use a lift, because he would need Morgan’s confidence again later, because it felt like the right thing to do.

“Sometimes people think it’s what you say when you’re in a huge group that makes you a leader,” Griffin said. “But sometimes it’s the one-on-one conversations you have with guys individually, just getting to know them. I think I’ve done that a lot. Not intentionally — it just happens.”

(HT: Jim Hamilton)

4 Responses to Leadership Lessons from RG3

  1. A. Amos Love December 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Wow

    “One thing you can’t do as a leader is come out and say you’re the leader.”

    Wish more believers would believe this.

    In my experience – those who tell you they are “Leaders” – Ain’t. :-)

    And – Jesus taught His Disciples NOT to be called “Leaders?”
    For you have “ONE” leader – the Christ. And NONE did… ;-)

    Mat 23:10-12 NASB – New American Standard Bible.
    Do not be called leaders; for “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.
    But the greatest among you shall be your servant.
    Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled;
    and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

    **His Disciples** all called themselves **Servants.**
    None called themselves “Leaders.” None? None.
    None called themselves “Servant-Leader.” None.

    If Jesus instructed **His Disciples** NOT to call themselves “leaders”
    and someone calls them self a “leader” or thinks they are a “leader;”

    Are they one of “His Disciples?”

    Why isn’t what Jesus said important? ;-)

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall **hear MY voice;**
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  2. James Horton January 2, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    James Horton
    Great article! And yes to my brother, it is important what Jesus said but it’s most important to understand it. In Matthew 23 the Lord is speaking against pride & pretense not titles. Paul refers to himself as a father to the Corinthians. The Bible speaks of him as the apostle to the Gentiles. In I Corinthians 121:27-31 it gives the appointments made by God in the church listing titles. This passsage doesn’t forbid the showing of respect for the giftedness endowed by the Lord. Christ is simply saying the title of teacher should not be used in an ostentatious sense that applies undue spiritual authority to a human being. A teacher of God’s Word should not act as the source of truth rather than God.

  3. A. Amos Love January 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    James

    You write…
    “In Matthew 23 the Lord is speaking against pride & pretense not titles.”

    I didn’t mention “Titles.” I was talking about Jesus teaching His Disciples NOT to be called “Leaders” and NOT one of His Disciples called them self “Leader.” They ALL called themselves “Servants.” Go figure. :-)

    Lots of books today about “Leaders.”
    But, NOT many books about “Servants.” Hmmm?

    But – Man, making up “Titles” NOT found in the Bible, is a pet peeve.
    Senior Pastor, Head Pastor, Lead Pastor, Teaching Pastor, etc.
    “Chief Executive Apostle – Pastor – Founder” Wow…Now that’s a “Title.”
    NO kidding – I saw – Chief Executive Apostle – With my own eyes. ;-)
    Reverend, Holy Reverend, Most Holy Reverend, Doctor, Cardinal,
    Vicar, Prelate, Arch-Deacon, Monsignior, M.Div… And the list Goes on…
    Titles – Titles – Everywhere – Accept in the Bible. :-(

    If someone takes a “Title/Position” NOT in the Bible?
    Wouldn’t that be “pride & pretense”?

    If someone takes a “Title/Position” that belongs only to Jesus?
    Wouldn’t that be “pride & pretense”?

    If someone takes a “Title/Position” that they do NOT “Qualify” for?
    Wouldn’t that be “pride & pretense”?

    Job 32:21-22 KJV
    Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person,
    neither let me give *flattering titles* unto man.
    For I know not to give *flattering titles;*
    in so doing my maker would soon take me away.

    In my experience…

    “Titles” become “Idols”………… “Idols” of the heart. Ezek 14:1-11.

    And “Titles” are like addictions. Very hard to walk away from.

    If someone says their “Title” is not an “Idol” just ask them…
    Well, if your “Title” is not an “Idol?” Then just get rid of it?

    Lay down the power, profit, prestige, that comes with todays “Titles.”
    Walk away from your reputation, your recognition, become a brethren.

    Become one of His Disciples. A “Servant.”
    Deny yourself and Forsake all…

    Jesus, as man, Humbled Himself, Made Himself of NO reputation,
    and took on the form of a “Servant.” Phil 2:7-8.

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