5 Battles Worth Fighting as a Leader

In our 25 years of working together with All Pro Dad, I’ve heard Tony Dungy share many stories about the challenges he faced to become an NFL head coach. It was normal for coaches to be brash screamers who swore at their players and slept at the office. But Tony was a soft-spoken, gentle leader who prioritized other things above his job. When interviewing for coaching positions, he’d tell NFL owners, “I’m going to give you a lot. I believe I’m going to deliver you a championship. But no, the team is not going to be the most important thing.”

To get hired, Tony fought against a stereotype—the expectation that coaches should look, act, and sound a certain way. Not fitting the mold could cost an up-and-comer opportunities. Once hired, Tony had to fight to motivate players who were used to a certain kind of coaching. But he was determined to lead a different way—with quiet strength—and eventually, he won a Super Bowl. As a leader, he knew some things in life are significant enough to contend for. Here are 5 leadership battles worth fighting.

1. For Unity

Having unity doesn’t mean everyone in your organization, family, or peer group will get along perfectly all the time. It means coming together respectfully to work toward a common goal without degrading or belittling each other over differing opinions or strategies. Unity is worth fighting for as a leader since people acting harmoniously leads to people producing consistently. Without unity, hitting work and family goals may require swimming upstream. Fight to keep everyone moving in the same direction pleasantly.

2. For Integrity

As Coach Dungy says, “Integrity does not come in degrees—low, medium, or high. You either have integrity or you do not.” It’s important to have, which means if you have it, it’s important to fight to keep it. People with integrity are dependable, trustworthy, and responsible. They are the same publicly and privately. People without it are unprincipled, unsteady, and unreliable. Since integrity is built largely on how you act and treat people, fighting to maintain your integrity means prioritizing your morals and treating others with respect.

3. For Your Team’s Well-Being

Another of the leadership battles worth fighting is for your team’s well-being. It’s wonderful to rack up great accomplishments as a leader, but the greater joy comes from group success. Fight for more than yourself as a leader, and the result is higher achievement for all. This can look like delegating tasks to others to build them up or urging people around you to take on more responsibility.

4. For Humility

We live in a world that elevates people willing to promote themselves endlessly. It’s a “look at me” world, and those who do it best become the most famous. Fighting for humility means fighting against a desire for recognition. Humble leaders are approachable, relatable, and influence people well. They put others’ interests above their own. When we strive to maintain humility, it makes everyone around us feel valued.

5. For Focus

People who are scattered and disorganized tend not to lead well. That’s because there is too much potential for everyone around the leader to wander off in different directions. Clarity matters. Developing a focus and fighting not to stray from it keeps everyone tracking toward common goals. Rather than going off in too many directions, remembering what’s most important and chasing that is ideal. Stay laser focused.

Sound off: As leaders, which battles that we fail to fight cause the most harm? 

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think the role of a leader is?”