Grown men in tank tops usually aren’t my jam, but… can they teach us something about leading?

Grown men in tank tops usually aren’t my jam.

So when Pat McAfee made his appearance on Gameday this year to replace a former Georgia football player that looked really good in a suit (more my jam), I was like what the heck? 

I watched him for a minute, determined he was there to sensationalize, pull in a different type of audience, and create some new dynamic I wasn’t into. I thought I’d lost a little bit of respect for the Saturday morning football institution, even if Corso is still there picking his favorite team, glorified mascot head and all. 

But my husband keeps showing me clips of McAfee’s show.  (To note, tank tops aren’t my husband’s jam either.  He’s even more buttoned up than I am when it comes to stuff like that.) 

“You’ve got to watch this,” he’s said at least three times to me in the past two weeks. Usually when he says this, it is because he’s watched it and he knows I am going to take some organizational psychology/leadership lessons from it and run with it. 

As I’ve watched, the popular host isn’t really sensationalizing anything- unless you take into account his frequent foul language- which is also, you guessed it, not my jam.  He’s teaching leadership and organizational psychology 101.  Lessons I try to teach myself and others each day.  Like: 

  • “Take care of your people.” Pay people what they are worth. You trying to short change everyone around you only leads to you short changing yourself. 
  • Stand up for what you believe in and don’t back down when people criticize you for it.  Ignore the outside “noise” both the good and the bad. 
  • “Humility drives you to success.” 
  • You have to customize your leadership to the people you are leading. 
  • Humor helps.  Deploy it often. 
  • Surround yourself with the GOATs of the world and listen to them. Learn from them. As I’ve watched and not just listened to the show, you see how attuned McAfee is to listening to his guests. He’s not silently interrupting- trying to think about what he is going to say next while someone else is talking- and he’s not literally interrupting either. He’s sitting there with his ears and mind on and he’s soaking it all in. 

If you want to listen to the episodes that my husband keeps putting in front of me, here is the two most recent examples: 

Pat McAfee Responds To Report He pays Aaron Rodgers “Millions” for Weekly Interviews

Coach Saban Talks Punishment vs Discipline, How He Motivates His Team

Thanks to my husband and Pat McAfee, I’m learning that it’s not wise to judge a book by its cover.  Leadership 101. 

Mary Ila Ward