237 - When Leaders Help Their People Get A Bonus - John Laurito

237 – When Leaders Help Their People Get A Bonus

In today’s episode, host John Laurito shares another leadership lesson in the form of a story about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that showed their teamwork and the leadership skills of their quarterback, Tom Brady. Because being a leader doesn’t only mean leading, guiding, motivating, and inspiring your people to become the best that they can be. It also means allowing them to get what they want out of the hard work they do.

[0:00] Intro

[0:24] Bucs vs. Panthers

[2:53] The good and the bad in terms of leadership

[6:45] An important thing a leader can do

[9:18] Outro

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John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leader so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader! All right. 

John Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader-related to leading yourself and leading others, I’m John Reader, your host. So a couple of weeks ago, the Bucs were playing the Panthers for the last game of the regular season, and Tampa Bay ended up winning. I think it was 47 to 17, something like that over the Panthers, pretty much a big, big blowout. But what was interesting in that game, and I’m a huge Tom Brady fan, is that there was a moment in that game and I didn’t see at the time what had happened. 

John I just saw Brady, Tom Brady, the coaches wanted to pull him out totally makes sense. I mean, here’s the guy. This game at this point was over and their star player didn’t want to risk injury so natural that you’d assume that he’d be coming out of the game. At one point, he very forcefully said to the coaches, No, I’m going in a literally. I put his helmet on. He went in. It was this moment of confrontation that was kind of funny because you realize who really runs that, that program, that team. But the backstory behind it, which was kind of interesting, is there was a really specific reason why he was not willing to get out of the game because he literally went in for one more play and then came out. He just wanted to get in there for one play. 

John Now, what came out is the back story afterward is Rob Gronkowski is tight end needed. One actually needed. There were two hurdles he needed to achieve in that game for two separate bonuses. One is he got a fight, as most players do, they get bonuses for certain accomplishments and pretty much any sport. But Rob Gronkowski had two hurdles he needed to overcome. One was a $500,000 bonus if he reached 750 fifty receiving yards. The other one was another $500,000 bonus if he got up to 55 catches now going into that last game of the regular season. He actually had both of those insights. 

John He needed like 85 yards for the yardage. He needed seven catches for the second and for the second bonus. And right at that moment where they were going to take Brady out. The reason Brady went in because Gronk had actually exceeded his yardage, he got that $500,000 bonus, but he was one catch short. He just needed one more catch in order to get that other $500000 bonus. That was solely the reason that Brady went back in. Sure enough, got the ball, threw it right to Gronk. Gronk caught it and that one catch got him 500000 bucks or got him over the bonus for $500000. So what’s interesting is that brings up a great leadership question, like should leaders what happens when a leader does that? 

John You know, what is the good and the bad? And I’ll just share with you my opinion on that. Overall, I think it was a great move. I think as a leader, helping one of your star players, somebody who’s contributed so much to the team, you help that person achieve a goal and a victory. And a bonus, whatever the case may be, is a great thing. Now, had some other quarterback been in there, maybe he wouldn’t have been motivated to make the play to Gronk and help him for that reason. Obviously, if that was not the right move and it wasn’t for the benefit of the team, so if Brady was really risking something, let’s say the game was really close and Gronk was not in a good position and there’s a potential interception or something like that that would not be a good move because that would be putting Gronk bonus ahead of the team’s success. 

John That would not be good leadership in this case. There was neither of that. The team was well ahead. I think there was a middle of the third quarter, if I’m not mistaken, maybe being in the fourth quarter, I think it was beginning of the fourth quarter team was well ahead. There was no risk. Gronk was wide open. It wasn’t even like it was hard and it was an easy like, I don’t know what it was a 10-yard pass or something. So it wasn’t anything of those circumstances. So Brady, do the right thing. Absolutely. Because what happens with the rest of the team now you got both sides of it. Some people say, Well, you know, then that’s favoritism, right? The leader is helping one person, is he going to do the same thing with all his other players? 

John You know, I’d have to say a guy like that might. He probably would again, with the same parameters. Hey, as long as it’s not going to hurt the team. And as long as it’s not jeopardizing the win or it’s not going to, you know, jeopardize the play, then yeah, you know, he’s probably going to do that. But the other part of it might be, you know, does it matter if it’s a person who’s contributed a lot versus somebody who may not have? And in that case, yeah, I do think it does, because what you’re doing as a leader is setting the tone and expectations and standards. So would I go out of mine? Way more for somebody who’s a top producer or a top contributor than somebody who is not. Yes, I would, because I think that’s important. 

John That’s differentiation. You treat everybody fairly, but not equally. In my opinion, that’s a great way to run an organization. Everybody has an opportunity to play as hard as they want, contribute as much as they want, and you need to reward the people that are going above and beyond. So when you have a star player, a top person, these are the types of things that you do. I think in general, leaders that are focused on their people’s goals and their bonuses and their personal goals as a leader are to help their people when it’s not about them. They know that naturally, if they help their people win, then that leader is going to win. That’s a true, authentic leader. That’s a servant leader in that case. Brady has been a servant leader. 

John Now he’s ultimately making the call. Hey, I’m staying in the game. I don’t care. You’re not taking me out. I’m going to control this and I’m going to make sure Gronk gets this pass. And he did. And that was a great accomplishment, and everybody really won in that situation. Maybe not the team, because they had to shell out some more money and they didn’t need to necessarily win that game. But in reality, yeah, they win because overall, they’ve had a guy who’s contributed hugely to the team and overall are now in good standing, moving in the playoffs. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens with the team. But overall, as a leader, this is an incredibly important thing a leader can do. Look for opportunities where you can help your people accomplish a goal. 

John If you can give them a little nudge and I’m not saying you don’t help them cut corners now because that sets a wrong tone, the wrong example. You don’t help them manipulate a system or anything like that. No, you don’t give them a handout. No, that wasn’t a handout. That listened, Gronk had to be open. Gronk had to catch the ball. Gronk had to be good enough to be on the playing field. To begin with, Gronk had to get the contract that he got. He’s the one that did all the work. Know Brady did what you know now helped him finalize that, you know, last play that he needed to. We just threw the ball. But Gronk did everything else. So make sure you’re putting yourself. You’re putting your people in a place where they know what they need to do to win and contribute and get to that point and then help them get that bonus, help them achieve their personal goals. 

John And when you do that and you take an interest in that, just knowing your personal, your people’s personal goals and business goals is absolutely critical. You’d be surprised how many leaders have no idea. They don’t ask. They never ask the question, Hey, you know, three years from now, things are going great for you, both personally and professionally. What’s happened? That’s a great question to ask. Super powerful and then remember it. Write it down, record whatever you got to do, and follow up on that every few months. Whatever. Hey, how’s that going? You know, I know you want to. You know what? You want to get that lakehouse. You know, how’s that going? What can I do to help? I mean, what? 

John What needs to happen here in work for you to feel comfortable? He can do that? What things can we work on that can pave the way to have that even happen sooner? I mean, think about if your leaders said that to you and genuinely took an interest in helping you achieve that goal. Wow, you’re going to just work that much harder, right? That’s what true leadership is. That’s servant leadership. And that’s a powerful leader. That’s a leader that has influence, tremendous influence. So in any event, I thought there was a great opportunity to share that concept again. I loved it. I love the fact that it really no, it was going on until after and I heard the back story. Those are always fun. So then you’ve got hope this was helpful. 

John Do something with it. As always, this is interesting until it’s you do something with it, then it’s impactful. So make this impactful. Take this lesson. Implement it, do something with it. Let me know how it goes. As always, share subscribe, like, go down below give a five-star review and we will see you next time. Thanks. Bye. 

John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on! 

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