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Jay Gruden Headlines 'Lessons In Leadership' Talk


Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden on Friday headlined the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce's "Lessons in Leadership" event in Leesburg, Va.

Jay Gruden has learned a lot about being a leader ever since he was named head coach of the Washington Redskins three years ago.

Gruden's had his fair share of ups and downs since he was given the keys to the franchise, but judging by the way the team played down the stretch last season in capturing the NFC East title, bigger and better things look to be coming down the pike for Gruden and the Redskins if they just stay on the course that's set.

Being the head coach of such a high-profile organization like the Redskins does come with its perks, like people wanting to pick your brain to see why you and your organization took off so quickly. 

They may, after all, be trying to do the same for their own companies.

That's what happened on Friday, as Gruden headlined the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce's "Lessons in Leadership" event at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Va., along with the Voice of the Washington Redskins, Larry Michael, who moderated the Q&A session.

Michael and Gruden touched on several topics surrounding his playing and coaching career, one of them being Gruden's management style and how he assembled his coaching staff.

"You want to hire your staff," Gruden said. "You want make sure you put in the time to hire the type of people you want leading the players they're going to be leading. You have to get to know them before you hire them. You got to get to know them as people first, then you always have to try and let them accelerate their career."

One of the greatest things a head coach or a manager in a company can do is build a "career tree," and have their staff members grow, branch off and do bigger and better things, either in the organization or outside of it.

That's one of Gruden's top philosophies. He's all about building up his coaches and his players, so they can take full advantage of any and all opportunities that may come their way in the future.  

"No one wants to stay in their position," Gruden said. "You never want to be just a quality control guy, so you have to make sure they do their work, work hard and when the time comes you have to help them leave, if they want to leave, or promote from within your organization."

Gruden has 89 players on his roster right now. Essentially, that means he has 89 different personalities he has to deal with on a daily basis. That's not an easy thing for any manager to do if their company has that many staff members, let alone Gruden.

However, over the last two seasons, Gruden's shown that he can juggle multiple personalities and keep the team together, even under the worst circumstances.

The way to handle it, Gruden says, is to respect each player's "individuality" and treat them as such.

"Each person, same with the rookies, you just have to get to know them," Gruden said. "You have to understand, you have to put team first. In this day in age that's the hardest thing. You still have to try and preach team before individual goals, but you also have to get to know each individual person, and what makes them tick, and sometimes you have to sit them down individually, instead of [talking] to them in front of a group, and try to motivate them the best way you can."

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