Why Madden Mattered

Why Madden Mattered

At the end of 2021, we lost an American icon.  John Madden passed away at the age of 85 on December 28th.  He’d lived a remarkable life, hailing from a small town in Minnesota yet rising to the world stage via the National Football League, broadcasting, and an extraordinary video game franchise. To some people, he was simply referred to as ‘Coach’—but to others, including the commissioner of the NFL, he was seen as a mentor who radically transformed his profession.  Personally, he was a devoted husband, father, and friend. Indeed, the value John Madden placed on relationships is perhaps the greatest secret to his seminal success.  People mattered to Madden—and in turn, he mattered to many of us. 

In countless testimonials after his death, this simple truth was echoed over and over again.  Madden’s colleague Al Michaels summed it up this way: “…he was so genuine and so accessible.  In traveling around the country, John had a great connection with city folk, rural folk, with farmers, with people out there doing the grunt work. He just had this great way of connecting to people and appealing to people.” (discover more about Madden’s life at https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2021-12-28/john-madden-sports).   

At LEADon®, we believe John Madden excelled in his interpersonal relationships because of his high level of Emotional Quotient (EQ).  While the concept of emotional intelligence has been researched and written about for decades (if you haven’t read it yet, check out Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Quotient:  Why It Can Matter More than IQ), one of the most exciting aspects about EQ is that it can be developed over time.  In other words, with intentional effort you can improve in both of the key categories that comprise EQ:  your personal and social competence. 

Let’s break these categories down so you can begin to consider how developing your EQ could positively impact your leadership and life too: 

  1. Personal Competence: the ability to understand what emotions you are feeling and to manage those emotions in positive, productive ways that benefit yourself and those around you.  
  1. Social Competence: the ability to understand people, especially how they work and what motivates them, and the capacity to interact cooperatively with others in your various spheres of influence. 

Your personal competence can be further examined by evaluating specific characteristics, including self-confidence, adaptability, optimism, conscientiousness, and commitment. How are you doing in each of these areas?  And how about your social competence? This category involves your capabilities in areas like empathy, political awareness, communication skills, and overall leadership.   

For decades the team at LEADon® has helped leaders understand their EQ strengths and weaknesses by using our proprietary metric called the DECQ® (Developing Emotional Competency Questionnaire). After taking this online assessment, you will receive your personal EQ scores via email and recommendations for improving those EQ skill sets that need strengthening (you can watch our DECQ® video by clicking here). We also have numerous blogs on all of the EQ characteristics which can assist you and your team in evaluating how intentionally addressing EQ skills might impact your company’s productivity and profitability (look for our free resources, including The LEADing Blog, at www.LEADonUniversity.com). 

As NFL commissioner Roger Goodell succinctly summarized, “There will never be another John Madden, and we are forever indebted to him” ( https://www.nfl.com/news/john-madden-legendary-hall-of-fame-coach-dies-at-age-85). While Madden certainly was a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, the key to his success can be implemented by leaders in any industry. Take time today to consider how improving your own EQ could help you leave behind a great legacy, one that matters now and, perhaps, for countless generations.  If you’d like to discuss this or any other leadership topic, please contact the team at LEADon® for a free consultation.  You can reach us at 858.592.0700 or www.LEADonUniversity.com.