Many would assume that being a leader is easy, that you can change your title and all of a sudden you are in charge of a successful team. Real leaders with experience and practice know that such a mentality couldn’t be further from the truth.

Just because you lead doesn’t mean that others will follow or that you will be amazing at it. To be a successful leader, you need to ensure that you are everything that you can be. Take a look at the Patriots, counting this football season, they have gone to the super bowl nine times and have won six of those games. Yes, you can say they have some excellent talent in the form of their quarterback Tom Brady, but when it comes down to it, their team is successful because of its leadership. It isn’t just about one person it, it’s about the team.

What Do They Do?

Some would argue that the biggest weakness of the Patriots is Belichick’s tendency to release pro-bowl talented players from their contracts. His problem is that he doesn’t keep around good players and gets rid of them. What many do not realize is that Belichick is very good at talent management. While he has said goodbye to talented players such as Corey Dillon, Lawyer Milloy, and Ty Law, Belichick knows that he can work with what he has. He understands that if he signs on players that want more than what he expects them to get, it is time to let them go and find other talent that is more suited for the team’s mission.

Belichick is also aware that talent can be cultivated from within the organization. It is easy for a star player to be brought onto the team, but talented players can be born and developed. Belichick looks at his player’s strengths and plays to them. He doesn’t confine in his players in their labeled positions. Instead, if Belichick sees the player can be good elsewhere he will move them. He gives the player the chance to shine a different role that can suit them better. Belichick understands that to win games, his team needs to be adept at multiple positions and able to overcome obstacles. If his team is down players, he’ll make the necessary changes to ensure his group ends up on top.

Not only does he have a talented team of players, but they put the team before themselves. This is reflected in top performer Tom Brady who is paid much less compared to his peers. Considering that he has set multiple records, you would think that he would be the top paid player. But, he understands that when he takes a pay cut, that gives the organization more money to spend on finding talent outside of what they have. When he accepts a pay cut, that provides the team with more money to offer other players to stay or join. Belichick has created a group of players that put the organization before themselves.

You won’t find a player with a large contract on the team and if they are looking for one, expect them to be traded away or let go. The Patriots aren’t successful because of luck; they have gone to the super bowl nine times because the players themselves are leaders and Belichick in there with them. The team they have are multi-talented players who look out for the best of the organization. They put the success of the group in front of their own. If you are looking to make a successful team, look at what the Patriots are doing right. For example, if you have a team member whose strength is dealing with numbers but they don’t handle customers very well, consider putting them in a role where they won’t need to interact with clients. Find your team member’s strengths and play to them.

This piece was originally published on MichaelRalby.org.