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I Want to be Like Andy Reid

Andy Reid is the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs won the Super Bowl last Sunday, coming back from a 10-0 deficit. It was a hard-fought game between two great teams. Like many high-pressure events, the Super Bowl is not without moments of conflict or frustration. It is one of these moments that Travis Kelsey, one of the Chiefs star players, initiated an aggressive interaction with Reid. It is Reid's response that makes me want to be like him. 

The replay of the conflict is as follows: Chiefs fumble the ball near the goal line on what would have been their first score, Travis Kelsey was not in the game during the play, Kelsey wanted to be in the game, and Kelsey let Reid know this by yelling at him inches from his face. He also bumped his coach causing him to momentarily lose his balance. While football is a game of intensity and passion, Kelsey’s actions do not pass anyone’s test for the best way to deal with frustration. It was, however, Andy Reid’s response to Kelsey that makes me want to be like him.

Andy Reid’s response was to continue to focus on the game. He continued to communicate with his team, call plays, and try to find a way to win the game – which they did. Rather than reacting, Reid remained steadfast on leading his team to winning the game. Reid would have been justified, by many people, in reacting with equal emotion and yelling back or benching Kelsey. This would have been easy. This might have felt like right thing to do. This is why what Andy Reid did was special. Below are 3 reasons why I want to be like Andy Reid:

  1. Andy Reid stayed FOCUSED. I am sure he was not happy being yelled at in close proximity nor being bumped, but he did not let it show. Responding while filled with emotion would have been a distraction. Reid did a wonderful job to take the high road and continue to lead his team. To do otherwise would have been a waste of precious time in the biggest game of the year. Kudos to Andy Reid for keeping his cool.
  2. It is obvious Andy Reid KNOWS HIS TEAM, particularly Travis Kelsey. By taking time and getting to know his team, Reid was well positioned to withstand this conflict. I do not know Andy Reid, but it is clear he takes time to get to know his team. He knew Kelsy wanted to win, wanted to be in the game, and wanted to fight for the win. Knowing Kelsey’s heart helped Reid overlook the conflict. Kudos to Andy Reid for knowing his team.
  3. Andy Reid WAITED TO GIVE FEEDBACK. In his book “The Effective Manager,” Mark Horstman teaches never to give feedback when you are upset. It is too easy for this emotion to lead to poor word choices, strong emotions, or unwanted damage to a relationship, to name a few. Reid could have used his role power to check Kelsey. Reid did not. I would be surprised if he even mentioned it at halftime. Reid’s focus was to win the game. Giving feedback too early would have only jeopardized this goal. Kudos to Andy Reid for waiting to give feedback.

Congratulations to Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs for winning the Super Bowl. Thank you to Andy Reid for reinforcing three important leadership lessons without ever saying a word. Seeing the way Reid stayed focused, knew his team, and waited to give feedback are tremendous lessons on how to lead. The next time conflict comes my way, I want to be like Andy Reid.