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6 Lessons from the New York Jets on How to be a Leader

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Leadership Lessons from New York Jets

If you’re in high school, you never know where the most valuable lessons will come from.

I launched the High School Leadership Academy to give New York metro area students practical leadership training by connecting them with officials and executives in a variety of industries. Our first meeting was with six top executives from the New York Jets, including the football team’s president, Neil Glat.

Here are six pieces of advice we gained from the Jets executives about leadership:

  1. A lot of “A” students fail to succeed because they don’t know how to be effective when dealing with people. By the time you get to the senior executive level, everyone is smart, but great leaders have drive, passion, confidence, and the skill of persuasion.

  2. Be empathetic. Create an environment where inspiration and motivation drive the team. When you ask people to put in long hours, you want them to feel great about what they are doing. A great leader needs to figure out what motivates the people on the team to achieve at their highest levels. For some that might be money, for others it might be praise or recognition.

  3. Be proactive. A good leader comes up with ideas about how to solve problems. A strong leader should always be thinking about, “What can I do?” and then be accountable.

  4. Anticipate. Being calm under pressure is key and it can help to be mentally prepared for how to handle situations before they happen.

  5. Persevere. You have to set your mind to a goal and when you hit a roadblock, you need to find a way through. So, you may have to knock on a door once, twice, and then you might just have to kick it down.

  6. Create an environment where as the leader, you set the example, guidelines and values and then trust the team to execute the job. Leaders can’t always be there; empower your team to handle any situation that arises.

[Find more helpful articles for college-bound teens in the Guide to Preparing for College.]

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Zachary Bernstein is a high school senior at the Dalton School in New York City. He is the founder and President of the High School Leadership Academy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, which provides practical leadership training to high school students focusing on skill development and exposure to business leaders. For more information on the High School Leadership Academy, please visit www.highschoolleadershipacademy.com

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