What March Madness Teaches Us About Leadership

What a fun way to look at leadership lessons.

Doug Dickerson on Leadership


Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. – Michael Jordan

March Madness is upon us. It’s the time of the year in college basketball where dreams come true and when hearts are broken depending on the final score. How’s your bracket looking? Regardless of how your team performs there are key leadership lessons to be learned. Here are five worth your consideration.

Expect the unexpected.

When filling out the brackets for the tournament the early picks seem routine. It’s safe and easy to pick the number one seed to defeat a number sixteen seed in the early round. But invariably an upset or two happens; i.e. Ohio State and Dayton. How did that affect your bracket? The leadership lesson is clear. Things don’t always go according to plan or how you think it should. Just as a team prepares for the big game, so too should you as…

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The power of inclusion, it’s not all about you.

We say that it takes a village to raise a child, we can say the same about an organization. How much more successful will we be if we capitalize on the strengths that individuals throughout our organization possess?

Lead to Serve

Teambuilding wordle 2

There is no more important task for a leader than creating a culture where all team members can contribute their talent and potential.

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Is Everyone a Leader?

Each and every one of us has the opportunity to influence others. On the flip side, we are also being influenced by others. Awareness of this influence allows us to have a positive impact on the lives and work of those around us. It also protects us from blindly allowing others to influence us without evaluating their motives.

Liberated Leadership

Everyone’s a leader.

I first heard that phrase back in the ’90s when I was working in Silicon Valley for the late, great Sun Microsystems, Inc.   I was part of the company’s Leadership Institute and we were teaching people to lead.  I bought into the phrase, but I don’t think I fully understood it at the time.  I was still in a mode of thinking, “yeah, everyone can be a leader, but it’s still the executives with the power that do most of the leading.”  Twenty years later, I am older, wiser, and far more experienced in the dynamics of human systems.  I’ve been hearing the phrase a lot again recently and I now have a much deeper appreciation for its meaning.

Being at the top, or in the front, or “in charge,” is one dimension of Leadership.  It’s the dimension most people think of when they hear the…

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What are YOU doing to develop the next generation of Leaders?

Jack Welch reminded us that, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” Encouraging and facilitating leadership development at every level of an organization is crucial to continued success. As leaders, we can help to develop the next generation of leaders by providing employees with the opportunity to share their knowledge, skills, and experience while taking on increasing responsibility. The modern-day organization should encourage the development of a culture that does not rely on a single leader, but shares the leadership responsibility throughout the organization. This leads to an improvement in decision quality, acceptance of change, and greater job satisfaction as well as allowing individuals to develop the leadership skills the organization will need in the future.

Lead to Serve


Many organizations, communities and families fail to tap their highest potential. Real leadership comes down to this- What are you doing now to develop and nurture the people around you? Do you believe in their talent? Are you willing to invest in someone today?

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