By Greg Whitesell, Marketing Director
With our HQ in Charlotte in a building that sits two blocks from Bank of America Stadium and regularly sports an office full of Panther blue on Friday’s during football season – suffice it to say, our shade of blue is a bit different today. Panther great Luke Keuchly announced his retirement yesterday. Our morning discourse naturally evolved from sadness into a Luuuuuuke love fest, during which we discussed some of our hero’s best qualities and started thinking about how we, as employees, can carry a little bit of Luke with us each day and how as recruiters we can find candidates with these three attributes to bring a little Luke-ness to your team as well.
How many times in 8 years have we seen Luke point out directions to teammates on the field, pat the back of a rookie who faltered or react with elation over someone else’s stellar play? It was clear from the beginning that Luke was going to be a force on the field, in the locker room and in the community. A 2016 article on the blog catcrave.com noted: “Kuechly does all the things that a good leader does. He is one of those first one in and last one out type players. He is in the weight room lifting and keeping his body fit for the rigors of playing in the NFL. He spends time in the film room so that he is up on every team that they play against.” In addition, throughout his career it was common to see Keuchly visiting kids at area hospitals and even serving meals to those less fortunate, as he did prior to the Big Game in Minnesota in 2018 (in a hair net, no less). When asked about his charitable work on that occasion by mandatory.com, Luke stated that the driver for his giving back was: “knowing you made a big difference in their day. To see them smile, makes me smile.”
How can you apply this to a workplace setting? First, remember that a leader leads by example. Whether or not your job title denotes you a leader, you can follow Luke’s lead and give it 100%. Always be learning, improving and active in helping your teammates improve. Give praise freely and constructive criticism when it’s needed it the appropriate setting. Next, don’t be afraid to step up. Look for challenges, find the answers and implement them. Finally, get involved. Whether it’s business and professional networking groups, community organizations or other ways, being around other people focused on a common goal just makes you a better person and a better employee.
Sports Illustrated once asked Luke about his approach to being an incoming freshman at Boston College. The answer? “Be nice to everybody, ask questions and work hard.” That quote speaks volumes. Any Panther fan (or foe) can tell you about Luke’s work ethic. From studying film, to leading team workouts, to battling back from injuries, it’s clear that Keuchly is a goal setter who doesn’t quit. In the workplace, are you someone who sets both long and short term goals? Are you determined to limit distractions and not let anything keep you from being successful? Are you the type to finish your work and ask your boss what else you can do or your teammates how you can help? We’re sure those are all things Luke would do, and you can too.
It goes without saying that Luke respected the game, the officials, other players and his role model status. It’s also obvious that he gained the respect of others. Just take a look at reactions around the league on Twitter since he made the announcement:
“Not just the best player I’ve ever seen, but the best person I’ve ever met.” – Christian McCaffery
“I’ll always appreciate the impact he has had on my life.” – Greg Olsen
“Much respect for who you are and what you represent!” – Mark Ingram
“You are the embodiment of leadership & dedication. – Charles Tillman
“I’d teach my son to be like you” – Tre Boston
Just like on a playing field, respect in the workplace is earned. For Keuchly, both teammates and competitors took note of his dedication to learning the game and following its rules. They also took note of how he conducted himself as the consummate professional, even in the face of adversity. Finally, they understood his decision to turn the page to a new chapter when the time was right.
In your job, what kind of teammate are you? Would your teammates react to your retirement with similar sentiments? Do you reflect on your performance, strengths, weaknesses and needs to make tough decisions regarding your career and your future?
Today’s article on Panthers.com quoted Panthers owner David Tepper as saying: “Luke is a once-in-a-generation player and someone we want every member of this organization to emulate.” The article continues to say “Teammates want their kids to be like Kuechly. Coaches want their sons to be like Kuechly. High school football players want to be Kuechly.”
We’d add that businesses want their employees to be like Keuchly. And the good news, he’s given us more than enough inspiration to give it our best shots. Thanks for a great 8 seasons #59 – and best of luck in your future.