Before going to bed at his home in Loudoun County on Sunday night, there is a good chance Robert Griffin III checked for J.J. Watt in his closet and underneath his bed. That’s because Watt had a monster game against the Redskins, recording 5 hits on RG3, a blocked extra point, a recovered fumble, and a batted down pass.
Watt’s performance did more than silence his critics in regards to his recent $100M contract signing. On Sunday afternoon, Watt proved that true leadership is defined by one’s actions rather than by one’s title.
In business, many often mistake power and authority for leadership. Although those two things may give you the platform to lead, it doesn’t automatically make you a leader. Instead, leadership is nothing more than influence. It’s the ability to inspire people to achieve a shared vision. Much like football, leadership must be practiced. It’s not something one automatically receives after reaching a certain level within an organization.
Typically, the Tom Bradys, the Peyton Mannings, and the Aaron Rodgers of the world receive all the praise, and although they might make great CEOs someday, their positions on the field alone don’t automatically make them great team leaders.
On Sunday, Watt showed all of us that you don’t need authority or title to lead. Rather, true leadership comes from free choice and the desire to instill change. True leaders don’t leverage their authority to bring about change. Instead, they bring people together and motivate others to achieve common goals.