Follow the LEADER!

You know the saying, "If no one is following you, you're not a leader."? Well, what is true of the Lions is, "If no one is leading, they have no one to follow."
Question(s): Do we make too much of the 'leader' role? Do we place too much expectation and extrinsic motivation upon one person? Can it even lead to an unhealthy codependency? I say "yes" to all the above, but that doesn't diminish the importance of a leader.
If you ever watched or remember the 1st season of LOST, you'll remember how 'lost' the people felt without Jack's direction regarding every decision (the doctor). There are born leaders, and there are appointed leaders; it's rare but fortunate when the two marry.
It does seem that the natives (the team) are restless and lack leadership. It's not fair to place that upon Casey or anyone else, and yet until such time that those in the food chain above them make whatever necessary changes are needed; until the conditions are right to either allow a born leader to emerge, or import one, they will remain stagnant. I personally believe that that leader - that person is already on the team; he just hasn't emerged yet. Until that happens, and until we begin to see the rest follow, ...well,...same ole', same ole'...
Yeah, I know I sound like a news commentator, but so what. I'm not an expert on anything, but I do know something about leadership.

Some interesting insights there Pastasteve. I enjoyed reading your post. I'd like to give some of my thoughts. In my opinion there is the formal kind of leadership; Kings, Queens, Presidents, CEOs, coaches, back catchers, QBs, supervisors, teachers etc]. On the gridiron the "formal" leadership is shared between the QB and the coaches. Then there is another kind of leadership that a group will look towards to get the job done. It is the leadership of leading by example. Each player has an opportunity to be a leader for his team.

They lead by example and are looked up to by the other team mates. They become the mentors. It is often the veterans but not always. They choose their words carefully, they play like there is no tomorrow regardless of the score, they are rarely critical, and they often have winsome attitudes. They praise a team mate when a brilliant play is executed and console him when he walks off the field with egg on his face. They are not necessarily superstars but they have an exemplary work ethic. It is players like these on the team that can often be the glue that holds the team together during adversity. The Lions have their share of them like all of the other teams.

In the NHL the "leader" supposedly wears the big C on the team and yet I've not always agreed with the choice the team has made. It is often several other players that are really "leading" the team. In the CFL the players do look to the QB and the coaches for leadership in terms of how to march the ball down the field. The respect for such positions has to be there as well. I think there are a number of "leaders" on the Lions team that may be just holding the team together and giving it what it needs to get pumped up week in and week out knowing what is ahead of them.

Fantastic insights PastaSteve and Beagle on a topic on which there are an abundance of books written yet less timeless wisdom than most people think in their lifelong understanding and refinement of any leadership skills and qualities.

One thing I have observed, and you can see it even in kids at a very early age, is that you cannot teach initiative. There are folks that find something to do no matter what, never having to be told what to do at any given time and hardly ever bored, and then there are the rest.

That does not mean those without natural initiative cannot succeed otherwise in other roles, but it won't be as leaders.

Most pro athletes do not have an issue with taking initiative mind you with healthy strong egos and extreme competitiveness for any given mental edge re-inforced by a highly competitive endeavour such as pro football, but how often folks overlook that such a sample in and of itself is hardly representative of the population at large.

Also last night on NFL Network Warren Sapp was talking about the role of the quarterback, as in the case of the fallen Matt Leinart at Arizona now and in retrospect with the case of the greatest bust of all time JaMarcus Russell, in having also a presence and intangible quality irrespective of underlying skills and talent such that the entire team gets and retains an emotional lift once said player at QB takes the field.

It's not a quality we have seen in every single Super Bowl winning QB (and perhaps up there with regard to Grey Cup QB winners I'm still new to the history), but certainly when you think back to winning Super Bowl quarterbacks whether or not Hall of Famers or obscure players hardly heard from ever again, most of them had this intangible quality right when they took the field. Also you can see it in retrospect in every single HOF quarterback as well.

Excellent comments, gents! When I think of exemplary team leaders who've stood out in sports, I think of Trevor Linden (Canucks), or a Henry Burris (Stampeders), or Nick Lidstrom (Red Wings), or Geroy Simon - atheletes whose committment to their team and to their city is proven by their consistent work ethic, focus, and perserverence. It wins huge respect from their followers - teammates and fans alike; and in the end, they are remembered, respected, and revered as heros.