In a couple of days, Super Bowl XLVII will be played between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the big game this year is the fact that the opposing head coaches are brothers.

John and Jim Harbaugh are proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Their father is also a former coach. According to both of the brothers, they still consult with their dad on weekly basis.

When it comes to teamwork, there are no champion teams without champion coaches. In fact, the role of a coach is by definition . . . Teamwork – to encourage a team to work together.

Great coaches have a few things in common. So do great leaders.

1 – A commitment to excellence. It appears to me, that both of the Harbaugh brothers are relentless in their desire to be great. The same can be said for the best leaders. They are never satisfied with being average.

2 – Great energy. The Ravens and 49ers exemplify passion more than any two teams in the NFL. It can be traced back to their head coaches. John and Jim are both high-energy, enthusiastic, men who come across as optimistic. There is no such thing as a champion leader that is negative.

3 – Willing to take a risk. During the last half of the season, both coaches took a massive risk. John, who coaches the Ravens, fired his offensive coordinator. He believed his offense was stuck and a change was necessary. He knew they would never reach the ultimate prize unless he was willing to make a change.

In the same Way, 49er coach Jim Harbaugh made a similar move, benching starting quarterback Alex Smith in favor of second-year QB, Colin Kaepernick. In the previous start, Smith had completed 18 out of 19 passes and had led the 49ers to a 6-2-1 record. Smith was really good. However, Jim Harbaugh knew the goal was not to be good. The goal was to be champions. In his coaches judgment, Smith, with his limitations, would never have been able to achieve the goal. Therefore, the change was made and here they sit one game away from being World Champions.

Great leaders have a passion for excellence, incredible energy, and a willingness to keep pushing toward their goal.

If your challenge is to build a champion team or organization, you better make sure you include these three attributes in your leadership playbook.



What are other attributes you have noticed in great coaches?