• John Hightower

Leadership in the Spotlight

The employee experience hinges on leadership. John Hightower, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Arch + Tower, wrote the following piece about the US Olympic Hockey Team while at Leadercast, a platform for leadership development content and a driving force that pushes leaders at all levels and from all walks of life to go beyond. 


There will likely come a time in all of our lives where the spotlight is focused directly on us. In that moment we will all have a choice of how we handle the attention. Essentially there are two options… absorb, or reflect.


Moments after beating hockey superpower, and home ice favorite Russia, in a sudden death shoot out, American team member T.J. Oshie found the spotlight fixed directly upon him. He had just delivered in heroic fashion, scoring on 4 of 6 attempts in the overtime shootout. The 26 year old from a tiny town in Minnesota had just put the team on his back and carried them to victory. This is the stuff legends are made of.


Immediately after the game, when asked by a reporter about being considered an American hero, he didn’t hesitate when answering: “The American heroes are wearing camo. That’s not me.”  This from a man who had just helped secure what some say is the greatest U.S. Hockey victory since the ‘Miracle on Ice” game in 1980 – 6 years before T.J. Was born.


T.J. Oshie used his new found platform to draw attention to those who allow him to perfect his craft – the American armed forces. In a situation where many would get lost in stardom and absorb all that the spotlight has to offer, T.J. chose to focus his attention beyond himself and highlighted the efforts of others who were making far greater sacrifices, but will never be quite so recognized. This type of leadership is rarely seen into today’s culture – be it in sports, entertainment, business, government, or society.


In a moment of Olympic pride, T.J. Oshie chose to leverage his influence for the sake of others. He turned the glorifying spotlight into a moment of graceful humility. Although certainly not his intent, through his incredible attitude, he managed to gain thousands of new fans and followers. From Atlanta to Sochi, we give three cheers to Mr. Oshie. Thanks for exemplifying what it means to be a leader worth following.



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