Kansas City Chiefs Lessons in Leadership: Tyrann Mathieu
By: Kathy Kent Toney, President of Kent Business Solutions
Phote by: Kathy Kent Toney
Monday, October 12, 2020 was not a fun day for Chiefs Kingdom. Their 13-game winning streak ended with a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, in a game they were highly favored to win.
I was pretty bummed, and I obviously wasn’t the only one. You could definitely see that on social media! It was really interesting, reading the comments, ranging from lambasting Coach Reid, the defense, the offense…even Patrick Mahomes!
In the past, it would have bothered me more than it did; however, perspective has tempered my outlook for this team. They faced so much adversity last year and yet they overcame it to become Super Bowl Champions.
Also, I don’t think it’s a bad thing they lost for one reason…Patrick Mahomes, in his own words, said they needed a “wake-up call”. They really were playing below their ability.
And this team learns from their mistakes…they get better. They proved it last year and I believe they’ll continue on this track. You could already see that they were back to winning form in their win over the Buffalo Bills the following week.
There is so much we can learn from the Chiefs, so many lessons on leadership. So, over the next couple months I plan to periodically feature one team or staff member to highlight leadership truths that can help us in our everyday business lives.
First, I’d like to feature Tyrann Mathieu, , the All-Pro Safety and the leader of the Chiefs’ defense. He’s such a Rockstar, such an amazing example of a great leader! ESPN seems to think so…they recently published a feature story on him.
So let’s get started! The topic is:
4 Leadership Tips for When Things Don’t Go Right
After the Raiders game, Tyrann spoke to the media. He touched on four things that I believe are great leadership lessons, especially when the going gets tough. I’ll be taking snippets from the interview to formulate some lessons learned that we can apply to our business lives.
Here we go…
1. Be an Encourager to Your Team
Tyrann: “For me going forward, it’s all about continuing to encourage my guys. It’s a long football season. You know, I can't get down on them. You know, we haven’t lost a football game since last year. So, I mean, who am I as a leader to jump down their throat. You know, because they, we didn't perform, you know, as we would have liked to as a group.”
Tyrann is such a great encourager. You can see him going up and down the sidelines, pumping up his guys during games. He inspires confidence in them and they in turn rise to the occasion. He is so convinced that the defense can turn any situation around, not matter how bad it appears.
Lessons Learned: Your employees and/or teams are your best asset. Encourage them during tough times, even when your team doesn’t perform as well as you would like. Have an utmost confidence in your team to do their best, and more often than not, they can rise to the occasion.
2. Take Ownership of and Learn from Your Mistakes
Tyrann: “Obviously, I’ll remind them, I'll tell them we'll grow from it. Even for myself, I gave up a big play today, and you know it's all part of the game. We’ll get back in the lab, and it's a good feeling going forward.”
One thing I love about Tyrann and the Chiefs is their ability to take ownership of their mistakes. Not only that, they do their best to learn from them so they can get better. They’re not letting what went wrong dictate their future…they’re not living in the past. Because of that, they look forward to what lies ahead with a clean slate in front of them.
Lessons Learned: Allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes, knowing that they’re great opportunities to learn and grow. This takes the pressure off of yourself to always perform at a high-level. Have the attitude that if you fall down, get right back up. Then take what you’ve learned from your mistakes to get better so you can minimize repeating them.
3. Use Losses to Motivate You
Tyrann: “Obviously, we lost, and that’s a bad feeling, but to be this motivated. I haven't felt this motivated in a very, very long time, and I know all my teammates, on both sides of the ball, feel the exactly same way.”
The Chiefs looked anything but ready against the Raiders. They shot themselves in the foot too many times in contrast to how well the Raiders played. But you could already see that they were using this ugly loss and “wake-up call” to motivate them to play better...the Chiefs played great ball against a really good Buffalo Bills the following week.
Lessons learned: It’s so easy to cruise along when everything is going right and sometimes not do our best, which can lead to a fall. The best thing you can do is make a decision to use your failures as motivation to get back on track.
4. Be Ready for What’s Next
Tyrann: “We have to find a way to capitalize on big plays as a defense, to play consistent after that…how can we protect leads, how can we got in front and play that type of defense that we’re used to playing.”
“We’ll be ready next time.”
Watching the game was painful. Our lights-out defense looked like they forgot to show up! If this is the Chiefs team we know and love (and I think most of Chiefs Kingdom believes that), they’ll “get back in the lab”, like Tyrann said, to prepare for their next opponent.
Lessons Learned: Take everything you’ve learned through adversity and strategize the best way to get to where you’re going, so you can walk confidently into the future to be ready for what’s next.
Speaking about being ready for what’s next, is your business ready for the next I-didn’t-see-that-coming event, like the pandemic?
Then, check out my free business assessment! Your results will pinpoint areas that could use the most improvement in your business.
You’ll receive a customized report that includes a prioritized list of these areas from Yours Truly to help develop a roadmap to strengthen your business and make it more profitable.
Thanks for tuning in!
Kathy Kent Toney
I'm passionate about helping organizations grow profitably in ways they haven't imagined!