The ability to get an accurate ‘read’ on a person after a short interview is an acquired skill, but it’s also a trait some seem to possess as a natural instinct. I found it enormously helpful as a psychotherapist over the years because many times what a person tells you isn’t necessarily an accurate portrayal of the real issues at hand.
Some of you know from reading my babble how much I value the intangible aspects of professional football, particularly how team chemistry affects performance. I find the entire ‘process’ of how teams are formed and nurtured to be fascinating. And of course it’s no secret how much I admire Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, ‘McBeane’ as I like to call them– while they do their jobs methodically – like cooks tinkering with their recipe for success.
McBeane readily admit they scratch players off their potential acquisition lists based upon what they perceive to be a “bad fit” for the Bills team they envision. What exactly do they mean by “bad fit”? What qualities or behavior are they specifically looking for in players they identify as “their type of guy” who has the “right” qualities?
As we approach the upcoming NFL Combine, it’s just as important for coaches and general managers to be able to glean an accurate first impression of players they may spend little more than 15 minutes with solo during the entire week. This is especially true for Buffalo this year because it’s all but a given they are going to draft a quarterback.
No position is more important to get right in terms of intangibles as the quarterback position. They are more than the face of a franchise, their personalities can set the town for the entire team. Look no further than Jay Cutler as an example how a quarterback can be locker room poison.
So what qualities/traits do McBeane value in their quest to build a championship caliber team?
Sean McDermott already seems to display an unusual ability to immediately sense a person’s spiritual nature, so it makes sense he would be an important part of evaluating a player’s intangible qualities at a place like the NFL Combine.
In no particular order, the following ‘ingredients’ might be involved in creating the recipe for McBeane’s secret sauce. These are the most likely intangible qualities they are trying to sniff out in players at the NFL Combine:
- Authenticity – it’s a word some of you reading this have seen me write about (likely too many times already, lol). What does it mean to be authentic? Are you an “authentic person”? Here are seven qualities of authentic people as defined from a recent article in Psychology Today. I would expect McBeane to be highly skilled at identifying players giving them ‘BS’.
- Congruence – Are you who you say you are? Does what you portray to the rest of the world reflect the same balance of characteristics as who you are in your inner world? Here’s a great article from exploringyourmind.com about the principle of congruence and how it relates to assessing personality.
- Kindness/Compassion – This may seem like a strange quality to value at such a high level in a football player but the McBeanes appear to place a high priority on identifying players who demonstrate with more than just words their desire to participate in projects that promote the well being of the community around them. They understand the ability to form empathic relationships with others is something narcissistic people are incapable of by definition – and pathologic narcissism is a trait McDermott (especially) appears to abhor in players.
- Personal integrity – This is a foundational quality to which the rest of your personality emanates. Do you “do the right thing” regardless if anyone is watching? Here’s a great 2012 article by Amy Rees Anderson on why personal integrity is one of the most important qualities we can develop to be successful in life.
It’s been since Marv Levy and Bill Polian roamed the halls together at One Bills Drive since I’ve felt as comfortable with a coach and general manager as far as their ability to accurately size up players’ intangibles. McBeane have already demonstrated their uncanny ability to turn leftovers into a Buffalo Soup-fest Blue Ribbon winner in little over a year.
Editor’s babble: Thanks for riding along with me on another trail of psychobabble. If that wasn’t enough to nauseate you, I’m also on twitter @RobynMundyWYO.
*Views expressed on the blog are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of ownership of the billsmafia.com website.