Leadership Lessons from the MN Vikings

Leadership Lessons from the MN Vikings

Is Brad Childress a genius?  Maybe, just maybe.

The usual visitor to this blog is looking to read about the church, missions, or organizational leadership.  Well, Chillie is giving us a rare connection to organizational leadership which is just too rich to ignore.

The Minnesota Vikings are "all in" this year.  Next year they lose a bunch of players to free agency, there is a possible strike, and the big studs are getting old.  It's now or never, baby, and there is no turning back.

So, I understand why Wilf (the Vikings' owner) and Childress decided to go after Randy Moss.  They had little choice, truth be told.  Having Favre with an injured receiver corps is like having a Dodge Viper with no gas to put in the tank.  Chillie has got to put up with a couple of players that are, for lack of a better way to say it, prima donnas.

Prima donnas are hard to lead.  A leader of prima donnas has to have lots of humility.  They will do things that bend the rules, create fairness issues for others on the team, and generally do whatever they want to do.  Why do they get away with it?  Because they are good.

Here is the challenge for us in organizational leadership. Often, the worst team players are the most productive players.  Particularly in creative organizations the hot talent is usually held by the oddballs, misfits, and out-of-box thinkers.  The very thing that makes them great (the ability to think differently than the rest of us) is what you want on the team. To have this kind of talent, though, means that you, the leader, are going to have to put up with ruffled feathers, rule-breaking, and general disobedience.  It's not for the faint of heart.

I consider it part of my job to keep the organizational culture where I work open to these sorts of creative types.

So, Childress decided to have a quarterback who doesn't show up for the pre-season and is struggling with sexual harassment allegations.  He has a newly acquired receiver that will definitely not be known for his sunny disposition and willing attitude. He worked hard to get both of these guys on the team.

We will soon know if Brad Childress is a genius, or not. Monday night football starts in a few minutes, and the Vikings will be tested by the Jets.

As leaders in our organizations, I suggest you embrace the avant guarde, creative, high performance misfits.  They just might be your big play-makers.

2 thoughts on “Leadership Lessons from the MN Vikings

  1. Great post, Ted. I see I am the first one to comment here, but we’re already talking about your post over on Missions Catalyst, in relation to the latest edition there. The trick to keeping an organization open to these types of people (or, a trick – maybe there are many) is to not let their loose cannon-ness wear everyone else out.

    Tom

    1. Thanks for the comment! After watching the Vikings fall apart for the past few weeks I am not sure how good the post was! I really do believe the main point but perhaps the illustration is the wrong one.

      Who knows, though. There are still enough games left in the NFL season for the hapless Vikes to do something right.

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