Tony Dungy Leadership Research Paper

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  • Topic: Leadership, Tony Dungy, NFL Head Coach 09
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Final Project

“Tony Dungy”

Elizabeth O’Neil

Dr. King

MA 327

March 1, 2012
In figuring out who I wanted to write this paper on, many different leaders popped into my mind. I knew I wanted to choose a “sports figure” because playing sports has always been a huge part of my life. Every coach I have had, regardless of the sport, has always been a leader in my eyes so I thought it would be fitting to choose a coach. Coach Tony Dungy is said to be one of the greatest to ever coach the game of football. I would have to agree with that statement. I have been a fan of Tony Dungy ever since he became the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2002. I look up to, and respect him as a coach and as a person. I wanted to write this paper about him in hopes of learning more about his leadership style and what he thinks it takes to be a leader. Since I aspire to be like him as a coach, I want to leave a lasting positive impression upon the young individuals that I teach. I believe that that is exactly what Tony Dungy did for all of the players he has coached. He used his abilities, skills, values, and ethics to inspire, motivate and coach his teams on to victory.

Not only did I chose to write about Tony Dungy because of his leadership on the field, but how his leadership has always carried off the field as well. Tony Dungy believes that in order to be a great leader you have to not only know where you are going, but know who you are following (Brown). Coach Dungy follows Jesus Christ. "If people didn’t know me and only knew my public persona, what I’d want them to know is everything that I do, I do for the Glory of Lord," Dungy states (Brown). "Because of my Christian faith, that’s who I am. I wasn’t always that way, but I’m very proud that I am. I would tell people that I’m the same person. I have ups and downs. I have negative thoughts, negative actions. I don’t win every game. I have the same issues that everybody else has. What I’ve tried to do is use my faith in my job and let my faith direct me" (Brown). I believe his faith is the most admirable trait he possesses when it comes to him being a great leader. Dungy says that we are all role models to someone in this world, and we can all have an impact – for good (Dungy & Whitaker 301). Personally, I want to be able to say I made an impact in someone’s life. In researching Tony Dungy, I have found ways to help me in my life so that I can impact others through coaching and displaying the certain traits, behaviors, and skills needed in order to be a successful leader.

Some say great leaders are born; others say they are made. Coach Dungy believes it's a mixture of both (Brown). He believes that leaders are born with certain traits that make it possible to lead, while also believing that leaders can learn the behavior needed in order to be a leader. This is fitting in that we are in The Contingency Era. The primary assumption of the contingency view is that the personality, style, or behavior of effective leaders depends on the different situations leaders find themselves in (Nahavandi 65). Tony Dungy follows this approach in suggesting that there is no one best way to lead (Nahavandi 65).

In more recent approaches to leadership, the focus is starting to be directed on the relationship between leaders and followers and on various aspects of charismatic and visionary leadership (Nahavandi 65). I know that Mr. Dungy is very charismatic. He has that likeable factor and a smile that just brightens a room. He understands that most people do not respond to yelling and negativity and therefore you will hardly ever hear him raise his voice to his players (Dungy & Whitaker 105). He values the relationships he has in his life and throughout the course of his book, Quiet Strength, he will say name after name and how each of them fit into his life. Tony Dungy understands that good leadership is about people, not the bottom line. He understands that in order to be...
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