by Dana Cavalea February 15, 2022

1 Comment

Hi Team....

Growing up in New York, I was always a Yankees Fan. 

I grew up in an era where the king of New York was Derek Jeter.

He would go on to become not only the Captain of the Yankees, but a Hall of Famer.

When he first came up to the Big Leagues, I knew he was good, but I did not understand all the hype.

Then, a few years later I began coaching The Captain (starting as an intern) and then becoming a full-time Coach with the team.

I still did not understand all the hype about Mr. Jeter as "The Captain" because I did not see the leadership everyone spoke of.

And the reason I did not see it is because I was looking at "what leadership should be and what it should look like" through my own lens. 

I was looking for somebody who was loud, aggressive, forceful, and a bit more rah rah- always getting on people to drive their performance higher.

Today, I feel many are in the same position as I was- having a preconceived belief in what leadership is and should look like instead of sitting back and watching what it could be and may be.

Leading like a Champion is about understanding and setting an expectation that is attainable and achievable.

Understanding the main goal- and aligning all members on the team to get to that goal through their individual and collective efforts.

Yes, you did see the word individual.

All team members must have levels of individuality that shine and poke through.

It gives people a sense of freedom- a feeling that they can use their tools and inner gifts to grow and elevate not only themselves and their families, but the Brand and Organization as a whole.

Champion Leaders never stifle the creativity, growth, and thoughts of their team members.

Champion Leaders know exactly what buttons to press to get the most out of their people all through the encouragement of putting their best work forward- while at the same time requiring intense commitment to the teams mission and vision.

What I learned and watched Derek Jeter do through the years was sit and talk with his teammates that needed talking to.

Not only when things were bad but when they were good as well.

The approach was based on the mantra: Whatever it takes for us and you to win, that is what needs to be done.

I appreciate this approach.

After coaching many leaders in business and sport, they appreciate it too.

Life and work are tough- it is nice to have people around you that actually give a shit and are not just fluffing your pillow.

Which brings me to the last point about Champion Leadership.

You must be real and genuine.

Enough of the B.S. out there, fake smiles, and asking "how are you doing" and giving two craps about the answer.

Champion Leadership is about digging in.

Digging in and actually helping somebody elevate.

Will you be let down at times- YUP.

As my mentor Barry W. would say: "Give people enough time and they will all disappoint you"...

A harsh reality but now that you know that- stop expecting people to be perfect and fill your every need.

People will let you down- just do not let yourself down and do not let your people down by holding back and not giving your team your all.

Champion Leadership is about selflessness with a knowingness that there will be victory in the end.

Try it.

Dig in today and have the conversations that need to be had, do the work that matters, and like The Captain, do it your way.

Your Coach,



Dana Cavalea
Dana Cavalea

Dana Cavalea is the World Champion Director of Strength and Conditioning & Performance of the New York Yankees. Currently, he is a High Performance Speaker & Consultant to Pro Athletes, Entrepreneurs, Business Executives, and Workforces on lifestyle strategies to reduce stress, improve work/life integration, and most importantly improve daily performance /outcomes. Book Dana to Speak at your Company Event or Conference Today!

1 Response


December 29, 2022

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