Have Kids Really Changed? Or, What the Airport Taught Me About Life

USA Football’s Andy Ryland, a former Penn State linebacker and tackle technique coach, shared his thoughts on leading by example.

Last night, I stumbled upon this Twitter thread by Andy Ryland that I’m about to share. I learned about Ryland while listening to Matt Caraccio’s Saturday2Sunday Podcast Series on Skill Acquisition.

If you haven’t listened to it, I highly recommend you get started. You’ll learn a ton about football and you’ll get into the neighborhood of my headspace.

Anyhow, Ryland joined a debate about kids and whether this generation is radically different than previous ones:

Lead from the front. That’s the message. It’s a good one.

So is the perspective you can gain from Ryland’s thoughts when evaluating players. Do you appreciate the difficulty of the tasks you’re evaluating, the background of the players, or the current environment of their work?

These two coaches possess empathy. When it comes to analyzing, coaching, or leading, empathy has a place. This is far different than coddling. If that’s your false equivalency, you need more life lessons because sometimes the best compassion is a having high standards that may come across as tough.

The ideas above are about fairness. When you actively empathize, you gain an understanding of fairness. The foundation of effective leadership is fairness.

Striving for fairness engenders respect — even if fairness isn’t always possible. How is that so?

Because those who follow you will at least see that you can recognize and acknowledge unfairness when you see it rather than have your head up your ass denying because you can’t do anything about it and you’re afraid to be blamed or associated with part of a larger problem.

Wherever you lead, make fairness your compass. And when you have to veer off course temporarily due to events within or outside of your control, acknowledge it to those who must follow you.

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