Alabama’s Nick Saban reveals his leadership strategy during LSU Week

The Alabama-LSU game is called the Game of the Century. And what is Nick Saban doing to prepare for this titanic matchup?

His usual routine.

“I kind of try to stay on the same routine and function the same way,” Alabama football coach Nick Saban said during the weekly SEC Teleconference. “I think the people around you when you function the same way as you always do from a time management standpoint, from a preparation standpoint, from your disposition on the field with the players, all those things I try to do pretty much the same.”

And why approach this game the same as all the others?

“I think they are all going to feed off what you do,” the Alabama football coach said.

This is an important insight into Saban’s leadership. He understands the psychological ramifications of his mood on his subordinates.

Did Mike Dubose’s actions during Tennessee week make his players relaxed or tighter? By treating the rivalry game differently, the pressure mounted on his already loose command.

How the leader acts has its way of infecting the troops. It is an accepted principle in military history that the attitude of the commander is the most critical element before a clash.

Julius Caesar routinely expressed confidence and knew how his attitude flowed throughout the entire army. Scipio understood this too, and limited divergent opinions from infecting the attitude of his men.

Perhaps, Napoleon explained it best.

Napoleon once said, “The personality of the general is indispensable, he is the head, he is the all of an army. The Gauls were not conquered by the Roman legions but by Caesar. It was not before the Carthaginian soldiers that Rome was made to tremble but before Hannibal. It was not the Macedonian phalanx which penetrated to India but Alexander. It was not the French Army which reached the Weser and the Inn, it was Turenne. Prussia was not defended for seven years against the three most formidable European Powers by the Prussian soldiers but by Frederick the Great.”

For those who run their own organizations or manage people, this is a useful thing to keep in mind.

If you change your routine, people notice.

In college football, these are often young and inexperienced people who are the most likely to be influenced by small changes.

Alabama fans are lucky to have Nick Saban—and that fact becomes clearer every single day he is in Tuscaloosa.