“I don’t have to like my associates…” Vince Lombardi



Yup, that was Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packer’s legendary head coach. His legacy includes being tough, loud, and fair. (OK, btw…compare his to yours. I dare you; excluding the “loud” quality.)


That quote went “I don't necessarily have to like my players and associates, but as their leader, I must love them. Love is loyalty, love is teamwork, love respects the dignity of the individual. This is the strength of any organization.” Hmm, that sorta covers it doesn’t it?


If I might insert my own observations regarding Lombardi, he worked with individuals and the Team. He had players come and players go. His teams were known for their performance and goal achievement. (OK another insert…and his teams of players celebrated individual performance and contributions.)


As a Supervisor, you will have players come and go over time. They will bring good habits and some not so good. You will need to “un-train” some behaviors and replace them with new behaviors and skills. You will have to make choices like using positive reinforcement to identify what GOOD looks like or, falling back on your rank, authority, and power to demand something get done as your routine manner and behavior.


You will have players (synonymous with employees) join the team bringing different cultural backgrounds, world-views, perceptions of what inclusion and equity ought to be. They will be of different age groups and on and on. And so, (isn’t there always an “and, so”?} you have to decide how much of Vince Lombardi do want to adopt as a Leader?


Do you now, will you be going forward; a Supervisor of others who dares to set an example of respect for those supervised and be worthy of a trust-based reputation across your staff? Will you extend dignity to everyone you direct and guide? Will you be open to learning from and about each person that you are spending more time with daily than you spend with members of your own family? (Do the math.)


Like Lombardi, you will have to be willing to take the risk of making yourself vulnerable to disappointments, falling short now and then. (Less often than more often.) He knew and believed that how he treated people would be a path to “winning”. He was consistently consistent: respect, dignity, creating a group of people who pulled together. I can only assume that he hated losing, but really enjoyed winning.


How about you?

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