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The Captain Class

written by Matthew Rensberry, MD MBA on 2021-09-20

Here's what I learned about leadership from The Captain Class: A New Theory of Leadership by Sam Walker. The greatest teams, the most dominant over time, are that way because of their captain leadership. These 7 traits are consistent among the top captains of the best teams:

  1. Extreme doggedness and focus in competition.
    • Who is the most focused? Who always goes the extra mile?
  2. Aggressive play that tests the limits of the rules.
    • Leaders push boundaries – but only if it benefits the entire team. When someone bends the rules, examine the reasoning - is it selfish rebellion or a challenge to move the team forward?
  3. A willingness to do thankless jobs in the shadows.
    • Servant leadership is quiet and selfless.
    • These leaders embraced the dirty work that they’d never get credit for.
  4. A low-key, practical and democratic communication style.
    • Leaders don’t necessarily have the loudest voice in the meeting. Often they don’t speak much., but when they do, it’s profound and persuasive because they know the pulse of the team.
  5. Motivates others with passionate nonverbal displays.
    • Nonverbal efforts speak volumes.
  6. Strong convictions and the courage to stand apart.
    • If you see someone standing firm in his or her belief, even if it’s against the norm, this is a leader worth watching.
  7. Ironclad emotional control.
    • Leaders of conviction: When people are able to focus to get the task done despite difficult circumstances, personal or professional