Seven Common Sense Principles of Leadership

Vermeil's PrinciplesA few weeks ago, I had a chance to hear former NFL Head Coach Dick Vermeil talk about his seven common sense leadership principles. Coach Vermeil is eminently qualified to speak about leadership, as he was named Coach of the Year on four different levels: High School, Junior College, NCAA Division I, and the NFL. In addition, even though every NFL team he coached (Philadelphia, St. Louis and Kansas City) had a losing record before he arrived, he led them to the playoffs by his third season. 

Here’s a video of Coach Vermeil talking to a room full of my work colleagues:

In case you don’t have the time to listen to the whole video, I’ve summarized Coach Vermeil’s seven principles that lead to career success and development:

  1. Make sure people know you care about them
    If you want to win over someone, you must first win over their hearts.
    People care about those who care about them.
    When a person feels valued, they maintain a passion to succeed over a longer period of time.
  2. Be a good example
    The most important influence in a person’s life is someone worthy of emulation.
    People gain confidence when they see and feel it in their leaders.
    There is a difference between impressing people and impacting people.
  3. Create an atmosphere that people enjoy working in
    Employee’s attitudes are directly related to the quality of the atmosphere you create for them.
    Believe in your people and they will believe in you and themselves.
    There are three ingredients for success: recognition, appreciation, praise.
  4. Define, delegate, then lead
    Define your vision and sell it with passion.
    Focus on your strengths; delegate to others based on their strengths and talents.
    People don’t always remember what you said or did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
  5. Bring emotional and physical energy to the workplace
    Energy is contagious; you can transfer it to others.
    High-energy leaders harness the collective energy of their people.
    Encourage your employees to leave behind something they are good at for something they might be able to do better.
  6. Build relationships as you implement your process, vision, and value system
    Get your people working as a team because talent alone will not get it done; solid relationships can be the difference maker.
    You cannot lead someone if they do not trust you.
    People are compelled to return to you the feelings you create in them.
  7. Establish credibility by being sincere, believable, and trustworthy
    If you have integrity, nothing else matters; if you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.
    Be supportive in tough times; great leaders are a never-ending source of inspiration.
    Never allow greed to overpower you.

Lots of great advice from a guy who won the Super Bowl.

, , ,

5 Responses to Seven Common Sense Principles of Leadership

  1. Sven January 12, 2014 at 6:01 am #

    I really like these. Wold add one: encourage fast decision making and allow to fail (once) and learn from it.

  2. Aiaz Kazi January 12, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Liked and completely agree with the comment on Integrity. Perhaps the most important one of the lot…

  3. Malcolm Ryder January 13, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    Nice catch, Jonathan… This resonates very strongly with a saying I take to heart: without followers, there aren’t leaders. Vermeil’s list is a great way to describe the environment provided in which people are glad to be followers…

  4. Suzie Antonow January 21, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    I really agreed with principle #5&7
    Bring energy to the work place,being trustworthy,inspirational,and sincere.

  5. Always seeking new knowledge May 23, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    WOW! I agree with everyone of these. Unfortunately, in my experience, these are NOT the traits desired by most companies’ senior management. Instead, the list below guarantees corporate success.

    Do not have integrity.
    Do not show passion.
    Do not define or lead, only delegate.
    Do not recognize, appreciate, or praise those that bring true value, only do so to those that do the bare minimum. “Those that do the least are worth the most.”
    Don’t do as I do, only as I say.
    Care only as far as it serves you.

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: