Peyton Manning: A Case Study in Good Leadership

by | Jul 11, 2022 | Leadership

Peyton Manning is in his 18th season in the NFL and is preparing to play in his fourth Super Bowl. A five-time league MVP who has thrown nearly 550 touchdowns, Manning has certainly accomplished some impressive athletic feats in his career. He has continued to excel over the years, both with the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos under multiple head coaches, because he is an exceptional leader. His skills on the field as the head of his team are just as applicable off the field to those who are the heads of their company.

Although Manning has broken records and received awards, personal glory has never been his end goal. This is evidenced by the season he’s had with the Denver Broncos. Despite the team’s stellar performance, this is statistically Manning’s worst year. This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons that he is such a phenomenal leader on the field: he focuses on his completion percentage and touchdown passes because they “help our team win,” as he told Bill Rancic at Leadercast last year. He puts the success of his team at forefront of his actions.

He also works well under a number of different coaches and staff, which has been demonstrated this year under the new leadership of head coach Gary Kubiak. The two had very different offensive styles, but Manning and Kubiak worked together to achieve the Broncos’ huge successes this season. Part of this collaboration was Manning’s willingness to adapt to Kubiak’s approach to offense and study his new playbook. He has never stopped learning and taking direction. “Once someone stops learning to be coached, taught, or mentored, they’re in big trouble,” Manning said.

Throughout his career, during which he has been seriously injured and moved to a new team after 14 seasons, Manning has always focused on the challenge at hand one step at a time. He recovered from his surgery in 2011 and has continued to deal with any problems that have arisen as a result. He ignores the media hype and doesn’t respond to whatever may distract him from winning football games. His laser focus is no doubt turned toward the Super Bowl against the Panthers, and his leadership will unite the Broncos in San Francisco on Sunday.