Unlikely Leaders-Let’s look at a few who have succeeded

Over the past week I have talked about Unlikely Leaders and just what makes them effective as much as why they might be unlikely.  Before we go into a few examples in today’s post, let’s quickly review what an Unlike Leader is.

Unlike Leaders:

  1. May have gained their education or experience from a less than traditional source
  2. Experience has been their primary method of advancement and learning
  3. Possess an unusual or highly unique skill set for their vocation
  4. Are willing to take extraordinary risks in order to be successful

My post last week referred to Master’s Champion Bubba Watson and how he fits this mold of the Unlikely Leader, and we will review a few more unlikely leaders in today’s post.

    My first example today of an Unlikely Leader is Lou Holtz, or “Dr. Lou” as you may hear him described in ESPN when he does college football commentary.

Coach Holtz attended Kent State University and has coached college football at such storied schools as South Carolina, Arkansas, and Notre Dame, where he won a National Championship in 1988.

Lou Holtz has a great sense of humor and a unique ability to motivate those around him.  I once heard him tell the story of how he lost his first job at William and Mary and he proceeded to create a list of 100 things he wanted to do in his life.  After creating his list he took it to his wife and proudly asked here what she thought of it.  After reviewing the list she replied that he needed to add one more item to the  list, get a job.

Coach Holtz does not have the booming voice of a James Earl Jones, or the captivating delivery of many other speakers.  He even speaks with a slight lisp.  His unique ability and sense of humor enable him to overcome his small stature and unusual speaking ability and this has enabled him to be successful in almost every venture he has been part of.

General of the Army Omar Bradley.jpg    Another unlikely leader is General Omar Bradley.  General Bradley was a senior commander of US Forces in the European Theater during World War 2 and he was the right hand of Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower during this war.  General Bradley was born into meager circumstances in rural Missouri and moved several times as a young man.  He applied for entrance to West Point and actually took the entrance exam in the same building at the same time as General Eisenhower.  The two ended up being teammates at West Point in several sports including baseball and they spent their careers working together for decades.

General Bradley was often known as the “Soldier’s General” because he was so down to earth in comparison to many of his contemporaries such as firebrand General George Patton.  Bradley even had to supervise and discipline Patton during their time together in Europe during World War 2.  Bradley was never a flashy soldier and he ended up being  a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after his days in Europe.

Lou Holtz and Omar Bradley are two very unlikely leaders.  Neither came from a gifted upbringing, but both worked hard and used their unique talents to become successful in their fields of endeavor.

We will talk about some unlikely woman leaders in our next post.

Who is an unlikely leader that has motivated or inspired you?

Are you an Unlikely Leader?