What Will You Write On Your Slate?

Leadership Moment: To Everything There is a Season

It’s been an open secret in Foxborough this football season that it’s team captain Matthew Slater’s final year. In the pregame warmups before the Patriots’ final game, players and coaches came out wearing a tribute hoodie. And yet, when asked about how it felt at the start of his post-game interview, he began:

Let’s talk about that another day. [I] just want to express my thanks to the guys in that locker room today. 

You could write a whole book on leadership using Slater as a model, but this moment might capture his self-effacing style more succinctly than any. On a day that the Patriots had little to celebrate, wrapping up a 4-13 season that resulted the next week in the departure of arguably the greatest head coach of all time, on a day that the entire team put Slater’s career in the spotlight, he chose to step out of the spotlight.

There are many times in a leader’s career when they’ll have the opportunity to choose between using the spotlight for themselves, and using it to advance others. I think most leaders would have chosen otherwise; but Slater shows us another way.

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One Minute Pro Tip: Consider Your Audience

When given an opportunity to speak, take a moment to decide your objectives, before you even open your mouth. Understand how you want your audience – which might or might not be who you’re talking to – to react, and whether or not you need them to believe something new, or something different than what they currently believe.

Once you’ve identified what you want them to believe, or how you want them to act, evaluate what words you can say or evidence you can provide that might have that result. It’s possible that there is a magic phrase you can use; more likely, you’ll need to give your audience sufficient evidence that they can convince themselves of what you’re trying to tell them.


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Chapter Highlight: Leadership is helping someone become a better version of themselves.

Chapter 19 of 1% Leadership begins the Team Leadership section of the book, and it can be easy to quickly move past what’s clearly an introductory chapter. The transition is important, however. In personal leadership, we focus on self-improvement, both for our own sakes, and to be a model for those around us – but we can often treat the benefits to others as just serendipity. When we begin to consciously act to lead those around us, it’s important to remember that while we likely gain some benefit (especially if they work for us), our focus needs to be on how we are helping them.

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