What can Bill Belichick teach us about leadership?

There are many different definitions and interpretations of “success,” but on the professional football front, it is safe to say that Bill Belichick embodies the term through and through. Belichick is one of the winningest coaches in NFL history, and he has led the New England Patriots to five Super Bowl titles since the early 2000s (and he is currently in pursuit of a sixth). 

Belichick recently discussed his five rules to exceptional leadership. Here, I will examine several of these points and the lessons we can learn from them.



Whether you are a seasoned leader or an aspiring one, adaptability is one of the most important traits you can adopt, as your work environment and list of responsibilities will likely be ever-changing throughout your career. Belichick, and most NFL coaches in general, are highly aware of this notion, but Belichick regularly exemplifies effective adaptability, extensively planning for opposing teams with one sentiment in mind: “every battle is won before it is fought.”

This preemptive strategy may serve you well in your own leadership role; lay out major company goals and potential challenges and nip them in the bud by planning in advance. Then, when these matters enter the foreground, you will be even more prepared.



Belichick strongly believes that culture beats strategy “every time.” In the NFL, it is obvious that rostered players have the abilities to play well; it is their cohesion as a unit that will ultimately win them championships. To fortify this characteristic, Belichick is said to hold a revolving door of team building exercises, including trivia nights and Navy SEAL training sessions, that help to establish team culture off the field.

In business leadership, this blend of in-office and out-of-office team building can be just as vital, as your company’s success will likely hinge on both personal chemistry and collective work ethic. A nice balance of fun and hard work will not only facilitate a strong bond between your employees, it will also keep them motivated and mentally sharp.



Leaders must exhibit some form of enduring passion to keep their employees happy and ready to work. It is no secret that Belichick’s passion for his craft is mostly introverted — he is usually a man of few words and low tones — but his undeniable tenacity has kept him coming back year after year, usually to consistent success.

However you plan to implement your passion, make sure you are leading by example in terms of drive, motivation, and focus. No one is saying you have to bounce off the walls on a daily basis, but just as Belichick proves annually, infectious passion can take many forms; the first step is finding your niche.

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