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If there’s one thing about NFL defensive stud Ndamukong Suh, it’s that he’s not afraid to speak his mind.
Suh now resides in Tampa with the Bucs after playing for Detroit, Miami, and the Los Angeles Rams.
In March of 2015, Suh inked a six-year, $114 million contract with the Dolphins, but it was evident early on that it wasn’t going to be a good relationship.
From 2015 to 2017, Suh wasn’t all that effective. He put up 15.5 sacks, 13 passes defensed, accounted for 37 tackles for loss and 49 quarterback hits.
The Dolphins were hopeful that Suh would become the leader of their defense, a unit that had struggled for the club. Instead the unit continued to be average at best, and Suh was certainly not playing at a $114 million level.
Now a few years post-Miami, Suh is speaking about the team and about the way things went while he was playing in South Beach:
EQ (Emotional Quotient) is one of the most important traits I look for in people. But for many, it’s seen as less valuable than IQ. This is not true. Here’s the story of how I learned the importance of EQ, the hard way in Miami. If you’ve watched me play, you know I can be a lot of in your face. I’m a very direct person by nature. My job is entirely about imposing my will on others. So that bleeds into other aspects of my business. For a long time in my career, I was always just saying what I wanted to say. Never thinking about how I delivered the message. Everything changed when I got to Miami.
I was in a strong, influential position. So I was just making my opinion known, regardless of how it impacted others. 2 years in, I realized this attitude was:
– Creating divisions on the team.
– Pushing people away.
– Putting me in a negative headspace.
Then along came our new coach. I disagreed with everything he wanted to do. But…nothing I said was being heard. I couldn’t get the support I wanted. I realized it was because I had 0 tact. If you’re not careful about how you do things, you end up being the bad guy. So what did I start doing that I still do today? 1. I listened way more than I talked 2. I paid attention to HOW I interacted with people 3. I observed others reactions and adjusted as needed 4. I chose my words carefully to be more empathetic.
It was a total 180. There was less arguing & more agreements. I turned my influence on the team into impact. But most importantly, I felt better about myself and my mood improved. Since then, I’ve never forgotten how much EQ matters. In business and life, being sensitive to others always brings better results. Don’t just think about what you want. Think about what others want.
– Listening > talking (we have 2 ears, 1 mouth)
– Observe other’s reactions to you closely
– Assess yourself and be self aware, always improve
– Think before speaking (esp. in disagreements) I promise you’ll see way better outcomes in your relationships.
Thanks Miami! — Ndamukong Suh
And there you have it.