Be a Better Leader- Tracey Claeys



This week I was honored to accompany my son as he was awarded the Northern Star Council Eagle Scout Project of the Year for 2014. Being a gathering for Eagle Scouts, of course the keynote speaker spoke on leadership. The speaker this year was Tracy Claeys, the defensive coach for the University of Minnesota football team. He is an assistant to head coach, Jerry Kill. Here is a brief synopsis of Coach Claeys’ advice:

  1. If you can lead, get out there and do it.
  2. Leaders are not the experts. Assistant coaches/followers are the experts.
  3. Trust in others. Let others do their job and get out of the way.
  4. Motivators work to a point. Rewards and fear work, but if you what you do (and who you do them with), these tools lose their relevance.
  5. Don’t panic. Learn how to handle failure, and adjust accordingly. (This is the name of the game in sports.)
  6. Building loyalty is the best way to recruit, build and retain followers.

Coach Kill has a good reputation in our community as a leader of the athletes and of his assistant coaches. He must be doing something right–Tracy Claeys has been with Jerry Kill through five moves over twenty-one years. And Coach Kill is a good teacher of leadership as Tracy Claeys has stepped in for several games as the head coach as Coach Kill dealt with health issues.

Jonathan Shaver