There was plenty of amazing insight from Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin‘s sit down with The Pivot Podcast hosted by former Steeler Ryan Clark along with Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor. It truly was great to see Tomlin in a sit down, relaxed setting talking about a number of things including Antonio Brown, Cameron Heyward and Najee Harris‘ developing relationship and much more. One think that really stuck out about halfway through was Tomlin discussing his coaching style. It really doesn’t surprise me that he is identified as a player’s coach after hearing a ton from him on the podcast.
Tomlin was very firm in saying that he will never ask his players to do something he wouldn’t be able to give 100% of his energy and attention towards.
“They know I’m going to give it back, bro,” said Tomlin.
The Steelers head coach is willing to go to battle with his players and coaches every day because he knows that is what he expects from them and what they expect in return.
“I don’t have any problem fighting for that dude because I know he’s going to fight for us. And maybe the reason he fights for us is because he knows that we’re going to fight for him. But that’s relationships. That’s life. Somebody got to be all in for everybody to be all in. And so when you’re in a position of leadership, man, shouldn’t you own the initial component of that? I’m going to be willing to show you before I expect you to reciprocate.”
These are powerful words from Tomlin that directly speak to his coaching style. He’s not a “do what I say” kind of coach. He’s a “I’m going to show you what the expectation is by how I handle myself in the building and on the field every day” kind of leader. That speaks volumes.
Tomlin does tend to occasionally hold off on having extraordinary relationships with players because he wants to stay away from anyone taking advantage of him.
“I’m in the position of leadership in the relationship, and so I just think that’s my mindset. I’m open to intimacy, but at the same time, I realize that I’m not going to have intimate relationships with everybody. Everybody don’t want intimate relationships with me. Everybody’s not comfortable with intimate relationships with me, but everybody knows I’m open and some people take advantage of it.”
Any good coach knows he has to be the bad guy sometimes, but Tomlin credited his ability to be open and there for his players as a key part of his leadership. He believes to be successful, you can’t be normal:
“As a leader, I better let it be known that I’m open. Because you can’t do ordinary stuff, man, and expect unique results that don’t make sense. We can’t have ordinary relationships. I coach, you play, do this, good job, bad job and expect, like, the end of our journey for the confetti to be raining down on us. No, man, what we’re chasing is scarcity to that.”
Intimacy and vulnerability are two things that Tomlin believes are vital to being a leader in the locker room:
“How do I create that? How do I create an atmosphere where that happens? I got to be vulnerable. I got to be open. I got to be open. Intimacy. I got to help these dudes in every aspect of their life, football and otherwise. I got to let them see me. My successes, my failures, everything.”
What do you think Tomlin’s comments say about his coaching and leadership styles? Let us know in the comments below!