Nick Saban, football coach of University of Alabama, has a history of winning in college football. Now, he's poised once again to show his dominance, only one win away from another national title.
In the last six years, Saban has been on almost every sports covers of note, including Forbes business magazine under the headline, "The Most Powerful Coach In Sports."
Yet, as a head coach, Saban can be downright cruel. Once in the locker room, Jeno James, a massive guard, was passed out, vomiting, suffering from heat stroke and being attended by panicked teammates. Saban stepped right over James on the way to his office.
Saban is regularly described as intense and demanding. They say he's as approachable as a porcupine. He also been know to lie publicly when it's to his advantage.
This is how Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel describes Saban:
1. As a man, he's a lout.
2. As a coach, he's the best in sports today.
Lately, I've been thinking about Nick Saban' football success and wondering, would I want to be on his team?
I can tell you there are few talented football players who would pass up playing for Saban. The same applies in business. There are few talented managers who would pass up working for a winning CEO who, like Saban, was at the top of his or her game.
American like winners. We jockey to work for companies like Apple, Google and IBM who are known to be the best in their business. But great leaders of great companies aren't always nice guys. In fact, they're usually a lot like Nick, filled with personal flaws despite their great talents. Yet, when they are winning, leading a company to the heights of success, their personality becomes irrelevant as do your needs as an employee.
If you play for Saban, you go in knowing you must buy into the winning mentality, no matter what it takes. Saban told CBSSports.com: "I find that players and people in our organization really feel good about the fact that they know what the expectation is."
If I were young, single, driven and eager to show off my talents, I'd play for Saban. I sign right up to be on his team and give it my all. But as a middle aged player with experience and scars, I need to play for a different kind of coach, one whose passion to win is offset by a desire to support his team on all levels.
What about you? Knowing Saban's leadership style, would you play on his team?