What I Learned From The NFL’s First Female Coach

Hope your weekend is off to a great start! The sun is shining here in Toronto.

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Jen Welter, the National Football League’s first female coach. She was the guest speaker in a leadership graduate course I’m currently enrolled in. Dr. Welter has a master’s degree in sports psychology from Boston College, and a PhD in Psychology from Capella University. She’s an impressive person and her lessons are worth repeating!

Whether you are currently a leader of people or not, here are a few leadership tips from Dr. Welter that you can adopt now or in the future:

1. Be Authentic. Regardless of the position you hold, it’s important to be yourself. There are too many examples out there of people being promoted into leadership roles and then acting like someone else (not in a good way). Developing new skills as you advance your career is important, but this should never impinge upon who you are as a human. Be yourself.

2. Lead With Heart. No matter what line of business you are in, whether it’s running a daycare or a law firm, it’s still all about people. It’s easy to focus on the bottom line and lose sight that the driver behind everything is the employee. Engage with your people, be able to read your people. This takes practice! Don’t forget the small, but significant, things. For example, if you have trouble remembering little details – write it down! Write down the birthdays, kid’s names, hobbies, etc. It goes a long way.

3. Shoot Straight. Sometimes people need to hear the truth. And sometimes that is not easy nor fun, but necessary. Every person is only as good as their contribution, and when that waivers, a dose of reality is required. It is the leader’s duty.


If you’d like to learn more from Dr. Welter, she has a book coming out next month titled Play Big. I’m sure it’ll be a great read!

Have an awesome weekend,