Football Leadership

Leadership is indisputably a lifetime sport. While it can be challenging to establish oneself as a young leader, a wave of Gen Z leaders is quickly emerging across all industries and professions. One example of exceptional leadership at a young age is that of Jalen Hurts, the 23-year-old quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Despite his youth and relative inexperience as an NFL player, his passionate and resilient leadership shined through during his first season with the team and throughout this offseason. As he enters his second season in the league, he is a great example for budding leaders to emulate through his positive impact and dedication to his team. Here are some of the most important lessons that can be taken away from Hurts’ leadership example.

Demonstrating Leadership Qualities Persistently At Your Workplace 

It is vital to embrace the principles of leadership from your first day on the job, regardless of your position. Leaders do not compromise on their daily performance; in fact, they challenge themselves to continuously improve. By exuding confidence, focus and dedication, your colleagues will come to quickly respect you as a leader.

For Jalen Hurts, he earned the respect of his teammates through tireless leadership and hard work. In the thirteenth week of his rookie season, Hurts stepped in as quarterback for the team amid poor performance from seasoned quarterback, Carson Wentz. Hurts not only had to perform, but it was critical that he bring the team together amidst their frustrations of an unexceptional season.

He didn’t disappoint.

He quickly showed his worth, racking up impressive statistics in his first few games. After leading the team to an improved finish in the second half of the season, Hurts was rewarded by winning the starting quarterback spot with Wentz traded to the Indianapolis Colts. But there was more to it than just the statistics. Hurts’ teammates spoke to his poise, confidence, energy and intense work ethic.

How can you put this into practice? Show up immediately as a leader. Be confident, hard-working, poised and energetic. You will garner great respect and appreciation, while laying the foundation as an impactful leader.

Build Meaningful Relationships With Your Colleagues

While exuding leadership is important, knowing your team is equally critical. This means getting beyond just workplace chatter, where you figure out who your colleagues truly are. Mutual trust, a key component to leading effectively, is built on this type of meaningful connection.

Jalen Hurts is actively putting this into practice ahead of his second season. From making small conversation to offering emotional support, Hurts’ is working hard to build rapport with his teammates on and off the field. One of his teammates lauded these efforts, branding him as a natural-born leader. Others discussed how he demands eyes and ears in the huddle, a tribute to his effective communication tactics. He is undoubtedly going the extra mile to ensure his team is building the trust necessary to compete, and hopefully, win.

While it sometimes feels forced, work hard to find creative ways to connect with your team. Plan coffee chats and get to know them on a personal level. Find ways to engage their individual interests, and lean into team activities to help build rapport. Most importantly, be genuine in your interactions. Insincerity is a big obstacle to shared trust, and honest communication and feedback will help to build sincere relationships.

Create Impact Beyond Yourself

As a leader, many look to you to see what good morals and values look like. A large part of this includes looking beyond yourself and creating positive impact regardless of the reward. Leading outside the business includes being a force for good in your local community, where you often have the opportunity to make a positive impact on others.

For Hurts, this includes giving back to the community that has welcomed him over the past year. Most recently, he conducted a virtual visit with a local charter school and presented them with a $10,000 donation. He also met with a local family whose child was dealing with cancer, afterwards presenting them with a large $30,000 check to help buy a new house. When asked about this service, he pointed out how he likes to “be encouraging at all times, uplift those around me.” His desire to make an impact for the City of Philadelphia is already speaking for itself.

Serving your community, exuding a positive attitude, and leading by example are ways in which leaders create meaningful impact. A great starting point is finding local non-profits or charitable organizations who need assistance and align with you and your organization’s values. When leaders lead with strong values, others follow. The strength of communities helps fuel the strength of the teams that work in them.

Leaders are born AND made. By starting with intentional changes, individuals can quickly become strong leaders, regardless of age or experience. Most importantly, leadership is about far more than just quantifiable measurements like sales goals, products manufactured or people hired. As seen with Jalen Hurts, the best leaders focus their efforts on making a positive impact both at work and in the community at large. While he may be young and still building his reputation as an NFL player, he is already setting an outstanding example of young leadership to his organization, community and professionals alike.

Brian Hart is the Founder & President at Flackable, an award-winning public relations agency representing financial and professional services brands nationwide. To learn more about Flackable, please visit Follow Brian on Twitter at @BrianHartPR.


  • Brian Hart

    Founder & President


    Brian Hart is founder and president of Flackable, an award-winning public relations agency representing financial and professional services brands nationwide. The agency, which he bootstrapped in 2014 at the age of 27, guides growth-driven brands to new levels of credibility, authority and influence through its innovative, integrated approach to public relations. His professional recognition includes Bulldog Reporter‘s 2021 Silver PR Star Under 40, PRNEWS’ 2020 Agency Elite Top 100, Irish America Magazine's 2019, 2018 & 2017 Business 100, PRNEWS’ 2017 Rising PR Stars 30 & Under, Lehigh Valley Business’s 2016 Forty Under 40 and Adweek’s 2015 PR Industry 30 Under 30.