Sunday, November 2, 2008

Great Leaders Don't Wear Headphones

What is it with football coaches and their headphones? I recently saw one game where the headphones went dead and the coach started going bananas. One has to believe that a top 10 NCAA coach is good enough to do perfectly fine without ever touching a headphone.

Great leaders and coaches have never worn headphones whether it be Vince Lombardi, Joe Paterno, Dean Smith, or even military leaders like George Patton (oops I started to type George C Scott - but I bet he doesn't wear them on the set either).

And it stands to reason. Headphones clutter the mind with incessant noise (have you ever heard the yelling and screaming in the coaches box?). Headphones also block out the on the field noise - hearing the surrounding environment is one of the body's strongest senses.

A great leader takes input from his assistants only when he wants, otherwise he thinks to himself, relies on his own judgment, and leads, not micro manages. I wouldn't choose a doctor to operate on me if he had to listen to other people feeding him advice as he is cutting around my heart - I want him focusing on what he himself sees, feels, hears, and senses - if he's not good at that, I would want someone else who is.

I guess the headphones are part of the big show - and most coaches don't want to risk their multi-million dollar salaries to be independent enough not to wear the headphones. It's just one more sign of decline in our country. Joe Pa is more than a coach - he's a legend, and legends don't wear headphones.