Leadership: "Broadway Joe"
When I think of all the leaders that have influenced me over my lifetime, as a native Bostonian this is hard to admit, but my first recollection of admirable leadership was of Joseph William Namath, quarterback of the New York Jets from 1965-1976.
Joe was a charismatic leader whose bold prediction of Super Bowl victory over the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts in 1969 proved inspirational to his teammates who willingly became his effective followers en route to victory.
Joe had all the leader traits; he was driven, motivated to lead, had proven the correspondence between his actions and his words, displayed self-confidence, was an eloquent speaker, was people-friendly, and had a complete understanding of the game of football, including the skill levels of his teammates and the strategies of his opponents.
Namath once said about leadership, "To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who doesn't know where he is going."
The respect he earned allowed him to lead at times, in an autocratic style, making certain decisions on the field of play where there isn't time for democratic leadership. Joe's situational approach to the various defenses he came up against established him as an analytic type who was capable of reacting to any given situation in a cool, calm way that is still legend.
Back in 1969 Joe Namath effectively aroused a "sense of excitement and adventure" in all who followed. His bold prediction of Super Bowl victory supplied his teammates and followers with a vision they would rally behind. Joe's charismatic style packed an "emotional wallop beyond the ordinary", and as a result he has continued to be an inspiration to many young gridiron leaders in their quests for victory long after his retirement in 1977.
In a speech given by a motivational speaker Mark Ernsberger titled: “Leadership: It is not for the faint of heart", Ernsberger concluded with his description of a great leader: " Having the depth of spirit and character to emerge from the masses, take the helm, take the heat, be the example, and take the responsibility to unite and motivate your followers- " He may just as well have been talking about "Broadway Joe" Namath!