Leadership is Ageless and Selfless
By: Dennis Sherrin
This year, I challenged myself to write monthly blog on leadership. It has been a great experience for me to take time every few weeks to reflect and write on current topics in the world, in our industry, and even just in our firm. If you go back to how I started this journey, you will see in my January 2018 blog, I wrote about my love of college football and my admiration of the leadership on the University of Alabama football team.
Now, at the end of the year, it seems only appropriate to wrap up my leadership series talking about the same topic that kicked me off. In the midst of another incredible college football season and the possibility of my favorite team winning another championship, something even greater is happening – the development of 20-year old Jalen Hurts as true leader.
First, let’s reflect back on the environment this young man named Jalen Hurts is a part of.
In January, I spent time examining Nick Saban’s “process” he uses to coach National Champion caliber teams. With a combination of game strategy and personal development for each player, the Alabama football program attracts talented players who are seeking an opportunity to better themselves.
By creating a focus on the individuals, an inherent team mentality develops. The players become loyal to the coaches and develop the mindset of “Team Over Self”. This became evident in the January 2018 National Championship game when the decision was made to switch from a quarterback with a winning record (Jalen Hurts) to a freshman (Tua Tagovailoa). In what could be easily viewed as a disappointing time in his football career, Hurts displayed an impressive selfless attitude and cheered for his replacement – placing his belief in the ability of his team.
Fast Forward to a New Football Season
At the beginning of this fall’s college football season, Hurts and Tagovailoa battled for the starting quarterback position for Alabama. Of course, we know Tagovailoa won and was named the starter. Fans and media expected Hurts to immediately transfer to another university. However, that was not the case. He remained and played in a backup role in most games.
The explanation of his reasoning is not completely known, as one would expect. What is known is Hurts practiced every day, visibly supported his team, cheered Tagovailoa every game and focused on making himself a better quarterback. He did this without complaining or offering negative commentary to the media.
Alabama recently played in their conference championship against the University of Georgia -which by chance is the same program they defeated to win a national championship last January. Much like that game, Georgia had an excellent plan to disrupt the quarterback. This time that quarterback was Tagovailoa, who had to leave the game in the fourth quarter after an injury.
Enter Jalen Hurts who led the team to score two touchdowns securing the victory. Hurts entered the field and any viewer immediately saw he was a leader who was about to bring his team together for the comeback win. His teammates said they knew he would lead them to victory. They believed in him as the leader.
What an amazing performance from an incredible man. Jalen Hurts confirms great leaders can come from those who are age 20; selfless dedication to team makes you stronger and more resilient to be better than yesterday.
I am a Jalen Hurts fan for his leadership abilities. Pat Williams’s book “Leadership Excellence” describes seven traits necessary to be a great leader. Those seven are: Vision, Communication, People Skills, Character, Competence, Boldness and A Serving Heart.
Watching Jalen Hurt this season, I see all seven sides. I have learned about leading from watching him show leadership skill that is selfless and resilient. Congratulations Jalen, I look forward to seeing you achieve great things in life. Thanks for teaching me more about leading.