Byron's Babbles

Lift Every Voice

Posted in Equity, Excellance, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, NFL, Super Bowl LV by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on February 7, 2021
Coach Bruce Arians

Happy Super Bowl Sunday. As I settled in for Super Bowl LV. I loved this statement by Bruce Arians, Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when being interviewed by Bill Cowher for the Super Bowl Today Show: “If you are going to make me better, I am going to listen to you.” Having just gotten home this morning from facilitating a bunch of leadership development this past week and weekend, I was reflecting on how much time we had spent discussing that people will follow you because they want to (relationship) and people will follow you because you get results (production). Coach Arians was making this comment in response to continued praise for giving minority coaches opportunities. Additionally, the Buccaneers are the first NFL team to have two female coaches on staff in a Super Bowl. He reflected on his own experience being overlooked that made him want to help others get recognized. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the only team in the NFL with all Black coordinators.

In a great story by ESPN Staff Writer, Jenna Laine (she has awesome journalistic talent, by the way), Coach Arians said “A player is gonna ask the coach, ‘How are you gonna make me better?'” “He doesn’t really care if the answer comes from a male or female, Black, white, brown, yellow, who — just ‘help me be better,’ Arians said. “The best teachers I had were all different races, all different ethnic groups, male and female. If you can teach, you can coach.” It impressed me that Arians deflected a little of the praise saying, “That was not by design. Those are the best coaches I know.” Here’s the deal, great leaders recognize potential and then act on that by providing opportunities. It’s the most important thing we do as leaders.

Another thing Coach Arians said to Laine that really stuck with me was “To hear voices in a staff meeting that aren’t the same, don’t look alike, but they all have input — you get better output.” This is so true! It’s why in education we need to continue to work extremely hard in diversifying our teaching staffs. As we continue to work for excellence and equity, we must continue to tap the shoulders of ALL with potential – that’s what great leaders do.