What the Seahawks Taught Me About Leadership

I am a rabid Seattle Seahawks fan.  (It doesn’t hurt that I have a family member on the coaching staff.)  As one whose work revolves around equipping leaders, managers and supervisors with sound fundamentals, I have watched almost every Seahawks press conference this season.  What strikes me in reflecting on what I have heard the team leaders and coaches say, is the consistent use of consistent language.  Over and over and over.

Head Coach Pete Carroll often refers to the use of consistent language.  When asked about some aspect of the game, good or bad, by the press, he usually responds “We have language for that, and that language doesn’t change.”  I take that to mean that they use specific words, in a given situation.

During the week, in preparation for a game?  They have language for that.
Before a game?  They have language for that.
At half time? You guessed it, they have language for that.
After a win?  Yep.  Language for that too.
After a loss.  You can bet your season ticket, there’s language for that.

While many things have contributed to the Hawks march towards the upcoming NFC Championship match-up,  the regular use of consistent language is at the core of their success thus far. Whether listening to Coach Carroll, QB Russell Wilson or Amazing Corner Back and Wise Guy, Richard Sherman, the language is the same.

Here are a few examples:

Take Care of The Football.
Translation:  Know your priorities and think, choose and behave accordingly.  Every single player knows that this is a core team principle.  It has been called their mantra.

As a supervisor, what is the mantra for your team?

The 1-0 Mentality
Translation:  Stay focused on the task at hand.  Don’t get distracted.  Take it one game (day) at a time. Prepare for tomorrow by being the very best each and every day.

What is the right mentality for your team.  As a manager what language do you consistently use to contribute to the development of your team’s mentality?

We haven’t done anything yet.
Translation: Doing a great job is expected.  Achieving the major goal (can you say Super Bowl?) is the result of achieving milestone goals along the way.

What language are you using to lead the way to the next big goal?

Good leaders use consistent language,and teach others to do the same.

Consistent language creates clarity.
Consistent language builds trust.
Consistent language builds commitment and collaboration.
Consistent language creates shared vision.
Consistent language leads to a cohesive team purpose.
Consistent language, used consistently by leaders and spoken by all is fundamental to success.

And as my favorite QB consistently says at the end of every press conference…

Go Hawks!

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

About the author

Molly Davis

As VP of Client Services, Molly is a leading provider of workforce, team, and leadership solutions. She is a consummate facilitator and highly sought-after trainer and presenter with more than 20 years of experience in corporate development, including, customer service, training, public speaking, and writing. In her current role, Molly leads and coaches other trainers and facilitators, develops training curriculum, facilitates training workshops, and maintains strong, positive relationships with clients.