As a big Kansas City Chiefs fan, I am thrilled to see them head back to the Super Bowl again this year. Even amidst a pandemic, the buzz in the city is palpable and exciting! In the past few years, we have had a good run with both the Royals and the Chiefs.
As I reflect over the past few years in my professional life, I can recall countless conversations, issues, and problem-solving sessions fitting into the general topic of leadership. Particularly in the church world, we are often plagued with our limited leadership capacity. Oh, how often our leadership capacity has stunted our ability, boldness, fruitfulness, and endurance to be the church God created us to be. So, for an organization like the church, what could the on-the-field leader of the Chiefs, Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, teach us about leadership? This 25-year-old NFL superstar can certainly show us a few things about being a leader who is followed!
With all that has happened to Mahomes at such an early age, he could have certainly lost his humbleness in the midst of his rise to fame. Yet, this young man demonstrates what Phil Schroeder and I coined as humbled confidence in our book, Launching Leaders. While he leads with assurance, he is also very unassuming. Patrick is the first to lift up his teammates in interviews, the first to congratulate them on and off the field, and seems authentically grateful for his team, coaches, the Chiefs organization, and his fans.
Cheerleader & Motivator
Whether it is pre-game, post-game, between plays on the field, or on the sidelines during a game, Mahomes is consistently “coaching” his team. He is not afraid to take advantage of teaching moments, but is also right there to offer “atta” boys and firing his team up to give it their all. During the final minutes of the AFC Playoff Game, it got a bit contentious with three fouls called on the Bills and one on the Chiefs as emotions were running high. On the sidelines at the moment, Patrick was seen urging team mates and coaches alike back to the side lines and helping tamp down the high emotions so costly mistakes and injuries could be avoided. He could have easily been sucked into the emotional whirlwind spiraling out of control, yet this young leader kept a cool head and lead others to do the same.
Flexible and Adaptable
Patrick is known for his ability to move about in the pocket, run with the ball, and throw the ball from some pretty amazing angles. He has a keen eye allowing him to survey the whole field, anticipating movement, and adapting plays on the fly. His flexibility and adaptability have certainly given the team the advantage in winning games and ultimately championships.
Of course, these are not the only leadership traits Mahomes routinely models, but they are certainly the ones I believe have been pivotal in his personal success and the success of the Chiefs organization. I wonder, how would the landscape of the church change if we, too, had leaders who had leadership strengths of humbled confidence, cheerleader/motivator, and flexibility/adaptability? I believe this young leader could teach us a thing or two if we were open to leading in a new way in this new day to create a new way of being the church in this new culture.