The Field of Play You Can Aspire To
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer
Some people are saying in our present time, we have no universal role models that reach across generations, interests, and backgrounds. And who of that category would also represent values for today’s Gen Y and Gen Z’s? There is one man I can think of whose face appears in front of a number of different audiences, media outlets and subjects – Michael Strahan. There’s a reason for it: he has reinvented himself many times. He’s familiar to those who watch game shows, morning infotainment, sports commentary, and he has presence and credibility to those audiences. Most importantly above all, he’s genuinely kind. He exemplifies three qualities that we need to see more of and need to hold ourselves accountable for leading others: authenticity, perpetual student/humility and kindness.
Let’s look into the first two and give proper credit to the most important, all on its own, Kindness, in the next blog.
Authenticity allows people to trust and respect you. It breaks down the barriers which inevitably come with a leadership position. Strahan’s authenticity comes from his commitment and respect to everyone he works with. Interviewed by Chris Nashawaty in the Winter 2020/2021 copy of Inc, he says, “It’s kind of like being a football player…I’ve got to show up and be committed no matter how tired I am. I owe it to the people who come onto the show to give them the proper respect and energy level they deserve.” He was talking about his game show, $10,000 Pyramid, but it could have been anything he works on. It’s one of the reasons at SMAC, there are no titles other than the two founders. The founders didn’t want staff to believe they can only do one thing; to limit themselves. (SMAC – Sports, Media, and Culture is a production company and talent agency that Strahan co-leads.) According to Inc and other interviews, he’s even comfortable admitting he got into shape as a teenager working out to Jane Fonda’s exercise videos with his father, a career military man.
Perpetual Learning and Curiosity
With events, inventions and trends evolving so rapidly, it’s wise these days to be a perpetual student, also admitting when you don’t possess certain knowledge. From interviews, Constance Schwartz-Morini, the co-founder of SMAC, has always said of Strahan, as quoted in the Inc. article, “she would always walk away impressed by his openness and curiosity. He wanted to know how things worked on a granular level…. If he wasn’t sure what he was doing, he had no problem asking.” In an interview with Fast Company on 12/19/17, he says, “Trust your gut. Learn as you go. Don’t be afraid to dive into new things.” That mirrors his career transitions and also missteps like a Fox comedy series that didn’t take off.
One of the things that has come out of working from home, is perspective: an opportunity to consider what really matters. Like that “Giants’ NFL Super Bowl field” that you can aspire to cultivating, how can you practice these three qualities for impactful leadership evidenced by Michael Strahan? You can be more authentic by disclosing more to your team, including personal human stories of how you are managing our mutual daily dilemmas. If you can be more real, as the role model you allow your team members to be more real and worry less about trying to be perfect. And if you are continuing to learn new skills to keep your mind active and more pliable in order to react to changes as they occur- Kudos. You can share those stories of learning with your team, encouraging them to spend quality time picking up additional knowledge.
When in doubt, look to these stories of Strahan. You can be more like Mike, the Mike of our times.
The world right now needs more leaders like Michael.
If you are in a position to bring forth good change, encouragement, and growth – you want full access to your potential. Make the choices you need to be the leader that advocates change to look forward to. That change which engages your people, improves productivity and highlights the abilities of your team members.
If you would like to have a conversation on how you can get results with authenticity, continual learning and kindness, contact me: Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com