This leadership quality won the Super Bowl for the Ravens

by Jeff Hilimire on February 5, 2013

“Calm under pressure.” If you listened to a lot of sports talk about the Super Bowl yesterday like I did, you heard the same thing over and over. “The Ravens were ready for the moment.” “Flacco was calm and collected, Kaepernick looked jittery.” “Although they have more talent on their team, the 49ers weren’t as ready for the moment as the Ravens.”

I talked about this last week and listed, “Calming Confidence”, as one of The Five Characteristics of a Great Leader. I really can’t overstate it, the ability for a leader to be ready for the moment and be calm when things aren’t going well is critical.

And for what its worth, this is why I’m very bullish on the Atlanta Falcons. They have Matt Ryan who seemingly gets calmer and more focused when the big moment occurs. As a quarterback – probably the most important position in all of sports – you can have all the ability in the world but if you aren’t able to handle the big moment, you’re not going to be as successful as those that do. Same with leadership in business. You might be the most talented or most experienced, but if you can’t handle the big situations, and in the process instill confidence in your team, you’ll never be a truly great leader.

  • Drew Hawkins

    Whether it’s a big moment or a crisis situation, I’ve noticed that very little gets accomplished or very little positives ever come out of someone getting worked up, stressed out or visibly bent out of shape. To me, it just doesn’t seem logical to stress out, especially when many factors in a stressful situation are typically out of our control. I know you have to do the best you can with what control you do have (or could gain) and have faith the end result ends up where you want it to be.

  • Jeff Hilimire

    Well said DH.

  • Vlad Gorenshteyn

    lol, logic and emotions are antithetical, otherwise “marketing” would never work, right? I think this is true with both fear of loss and and hope of gain, but I digress. Agreed, excess stress is counter-productive, however there are healthy stress levels that successful folksj embrace. You will probably find this strange but people that look most comfortable on stage, on the field, etc. are most stressed. Some are just better in hiding it than others. Personally, the most comfortable public venue for me is the stage and I’m most stressed 24 hours and leading up to 5 minutes into my show. After I cross the 5 minute mark and all electronics are functioning properly…it goes away, like completely. BUT, these 24.00138888888 hours are invaluable to me because they give me perspective and humbles me and ultimatel (I hope) allows for a better performance.

    Here’s something constructive for folks that get bent out of shape easily and want to change: 1) don’t drink coffee or caffeine before a game, presentation, etc.; 2) get plenty of excercise and sleep, 3) get some experience…the more you do something, whether going to the Super Bowl (granted that’s a hard one to practice) or giving a presentation, the less “surprises” will come your way which means you’ll be less stressed.

    –my two cents

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