A Leader in Every Locker, Week 13; Loyalty

In week 13 of our series A Leader In Every Locker, we focus on the leadership trait of Loyalty.  Loyalty is the quality of faithfulness to team, teammates, coaches, friends, and family.  Though difficult to put the good of the team above one’s own interests, one’s commitment to the team and teammates enables a player to set aside his or her personal feelings for the good of the team.  

(Photo by Paul Hayes)

A player who sincerely wants to play quarterback or running back is asked to fill a role on the depth chart where the team needs him.  Although he will not receive the recognition due the positions he wished to play, he does his best to deliver on the responsibilities of the new position and support the betterment of the team.  

Sometimes a player’s role is to be a backup and provide depth at a position.  A sign on the locker room wall at a small high school in South Texas reads, “I’ll practice and get ready, and then my chance will come.”  Despite a player’s desire to take a starting role, he remains loyal to the team and coaches, practices hard every day, gets ready, and is able to deliver when called upon. 

Such sentiments are easy to think or talk about but are much harder to deliver on. In the vast majority of cases, we find ourselves visualizing the impossible catch, the unfathomed run, or tackling a speeding giant just short of the goal line. Many aspire to be the player everyone depends on, yet few realize it may very well be the second-teamer, or even the freshman a coach reaches for in a moment of necessity whose loyal preparation makes all the differnce.

Practice, get ready, and when your chance comes, be the teammate who studied, prepared for, and took care to deliver when called upon. Loyalty to teammates, to purpose, to ethics, and culture leads to a calling higher than oneself, and is a leadership trait to which we can all aspire.

I would be remiss If I don’t note today (Nov 11th) is Veteran’s Day. Given this week’s trait is loyalty, it’s hard to think of loyalty without recalling the men and women who served our country so we could enjoy a day like today… Men and women whose selfless sacrifice placed the rights of our citizens and society above their own safety and security. Who spent holidays like today away from family and (civilian) friends while setting an example of loyalty to missions and causes bigger than themselves. Who espoused and adopted all 14 of the leadership traits we’re teaching and discussing in this series, and who regularly place the interests of others above their own. The Marine Corps’ motto is “Semper Fidelis,”… “Always Faithful.” I remain in awe of the loyalty demonstrated by friends, family, former players, and colleagues who have served over the years, and hope by teaching traits like loyalty and so many others, I can in some small way, contribute to our team, and their mission. Happy Veteran’s Day.

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at richalercio@gmail.com and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time! 

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