Leadership and its Glue

I am not a person who banks on the intangibles.  I am more of numbers, statistics, specifications and quantitative results kind of guy.  However, after seeing the streak that Tim Tebow’s unorthodox style of play has the Denver Broncos on, I cannot help but wonder.  What value does leadership really have?  And, more importantly, are we as a society devaluing the intangibles to our own detriment?

The example of Tim Tebow and the Broncos might be a little too narrow minded.  After all, football is a very intangible sort of game.  The narrow victory margins ensure that every year there is some player, some team or in some case even some division that is far too far over in the wins column than in should be.  Some call this luck, others call it fate or destiny, but the fact remains that drawing some sort of scientific conclusion from half a dozen wins in a row might not be the wisest of moves.  What we can however look at is the way in which the team in question has won the vast majority of its half dozen improbable winning games.

Late game heroics. The phrase is almost hard to type since it is so over-used and abused by sportswriters and broadcasters.  However, it is fitting here.  For example, in last night’s comback win over the Chicago Bears, the Denver Broncos has been shut out for 3 and a half quarters.  They then came back, tied the game and won in overtime.  If this was boxing, we could call this a rope-a-dope victory, but no one is that stupid or confident in football.  This was truly a team coming together to push past a team that had for the most part dominated defensively and which has left a small window of opportunity due to a generally lackluster offense.

Before you all accuse me of being some bandwagon Broncos fan, I just want to say that I don’t much care about who wins on most Sundays.  Those guys all go out there and play their hearts out.  Well, most of them do, some get large contracts and then proceed to pout when the play scheme for the team doesn’t match their personal expectations, but that’s another topic.  My point with this entire post is to point out what a group of people can acheive when they have a figure to rally around.  And as much as I think that Tim Tebow is a terrible QB, that’s how much I admire his ability to rally his team when needed.

Applying this to a greater scope, I want to reference great business leaders and one recently passed away figure.  I am of course talking about Steve Jobs.  Not having met the man myself, I have to rely on hearsay, but from all the say that I have heard and read, the word vision can be the distillation of his skills.  Seeing the products and not getting bogged down in the details. Trusting those around you to handle the details, but knowing how important they are and overseeing the details when needed, that is what vision comes down to.

Vision, that is what makes leaders great. We can apply this to military leaders, such as the infamous example of General Patton shooting a donkey personally to get a column of troops moving, to Steve Jobs rejecting the disposable packaging for various Apple products, to Alexander of Macedon fighting in the front lines to show his men that courage could get them far, vision is the glue of great leadership.