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The key to leadership according to Bill O'Brien

The time in between national signing day and spring ball is full of speaking events for many college head coaches to drum up support, shake the hands of boosters, and create excitement for next season.

During a stop at the Greater Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce this morning on Bill O'Brien's speaking tour to 500 business people, the Penn State head coach (who collected numerous coaching awards at the conclusion of the season) took the opportunity to address the key components of leadership in his eyes.

O'Brien talked about the traits that are needed in order to be an effective leader. According to the Patriot-News, the attributes he spoke of included open and honest communication, people skills, heart, mental toughness, perspective, and to surrounding yourself with great people.

While communication and competence are highly regarded traits by most leaders, they aren't number one on O'Brien's list.

“When you are the leader of an organization, the leader of a team, you have to be competent. Communication to me is really important to being a great leader. Number one, hire a fantastic staff.” O'Brien explained to everyone in attendance.

Whether you're in coaching or business, that's a great rule of thumb. O'Brien attributes his numerous coach of the year awards this past season to sticking to that number one rule.

“These coach of the year awards are fantastic, but these are program awards. They’re about the coaching staff, the players, the guys who came to practice, they’re not about one single person.”

There are countless things to consider when building a program and putting your own stamp on everything as a head coach or CEO, but surrounding yourself with an excellent staff will put you on the path to sustained success.