Being a leader in the locker room can be a challenging task for a young person. Some of it may be God-given, but most of the qualities that make a good leader can be learned.
A leader must be accountable for his own actions and those of his teammates, says Robinson (right).
One of the most important traits of a good leader is accountability.
The rules of accountability are pretty straightforward: when you mess up, be the one who messed up
! Don’t try to turn the blame on anyone else, especially when it’s your fault, but sometimes even when it isn’t.
I have learned that when you are accountable, teammates will follow your lead.
I recall a time during my quarterback-playing years at Penn State, when I threw an interception late in the fourth quarter that cost us a game. The receiver broke out when he was supposed to break in. The only people who knew he messed up were the receiver, the offensive coordinator and me.
When I walked into the media room after the game, the reporters jumped all over me. At that moment, I had to make a choice whether to throw my receiver under the bus or take the blame for losing the game.
Knowing that no one felt worse about the mistake than the receiver, I decided to take the blame. I earned respect from him and others on the team, which words cannot explain. The result: my teammates worked harder to cover for my mistakes throughout the rest of the season.
There are many ways to be a leader—on your team and in life. I have touched on just a few of the ones that helped me gain the respect of my teammates. It takes hard work, genuine love for your teammates and a shared belief in the ultimate goal—to win!
Read the Rest of Michael Robinson’s Series on Leadership
Part 1: Win Your Class
Part 2: Learn to Listen
Photo: Penn State Athletic Communications