Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

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The Importance of Being a Team Player

Most NFL teams have opened their training camps for spring drills. It is a time for the players to reunite and rekindle their team chemistry. From a teambuilding standpoint it is important that all key players attend. For some players though, it is time to “hold out” and skip camp as they attempt to renegotiate their contracts. The vast majority of the time, the hold-out strategy is successful. Last week, however, something unusual happened.


Mike Wallace, the all-pro wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers was a no-show at training camp. Apparently, the one-year, $9 million offer from the Steelers was not tasty enough for Mr. Wallace. A fan who was concerned that a key piece of the team’s success last year might remain absent, asked Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to comment about the situation. Brandishing a viewpoint that he was much more interested in who showed up rather than who did not, coach Tomlin calmly stated: “That’s bad……for him.” I love that response. Coach Tomlin’s comment sends a clear message that the team is more important than one player. There is a message in Mr. Tomlin’s words for all leaders: The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts – do not be held hostage by the actions or behavior of one team member.


So what has happened in the Steelers camp since last week? Well, they signed a different wide receiver (an existing team member who showed up for camp) to a long-term contract. This action leaves little room for Mr. Wallace to rejoin the team. A curiosity question then becomes: Will Mr. Wallace play football this season? The answer is most assuredly “yes.” But for what team? At what reduced salary? And will that team fare as well as the Steelers?


So many questions for someone who is not a team player. So many positive possibilities for players who come together as a team!


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© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-07-30 at 05:04 PM
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