Last weekend I watched the Vince Lombardi biography on HBO and thought it was very nicely done. However, I was paying attention to how he led people as well as what kind of football coach he was, and I was intrigued.

I was intrigued because in a way he was like me as a leader and in another way he was nothing like me. He wasn't like me in that I was never one to yell at anyone. I also don't think anyone would ever consider me as being tough. I set standards, showed everyone what the standards were, and expected them to be met. Lombardi was a screamer, but then again, it was on the football field where "winning was everything" (although it seems he modified that somewhat years later) and his position was that the team and players represented the city and himself, and thus had to succeed.

Now, where he was like me was with his way of praising his players after yelling at some of them. More than one player talked about Lombardi being on his case throughout a practice, pushing them to limits, then at the end going up to those players and saying something either nice or encouraging to them. Those players said that gesture alone made them want to play harder for him, and they did.

Something else he learned early on was that if you have other leaders you rely on to help you get somewhere, you have to encourage them and show support while around others, and then let them know your real feelings later on. That happened with his quarterback, where he chewed him out once in public, then the player talked to the coach and asked how he could be expected to lead players later on if they'd seen the coach chastise him in person. Lombardi took that to heart and never did it again, which also showed that he didn't mind others giving him advice; that's another great leadership quality.

Many managers and leaders miss the fact that words of encouragement can go a long way. No one wants to be told they're bad all the time, even if they are. Building teams really means building self esteem and confidence. Words of encouragement will go a long way towards team building. And motivation never goes out of style.