I lost a very good friend last week, Fulton Walker. Fulton was a teammate at West Virginia University and later played for the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. He set a couple of longstanding Super Bowl records and I‘ve written about him in the past to highlight various aspects of leadership and teamwork.
Any significant loss of humanity stirs emotions and thoughts that cause us to reflect. I’ve reflected on many aspects of Fulton’s personality over the last few days. His soft and warm personality endeared him to many. And now, I want to reflect more specifically on the qualities that made him a great teammate.
For one, Fulton was approachable and lovable – you could talk to him about anything.
Fulton sincerely wanted to get to know people and cared about them – this allowed him to make an emotional connection with others.
He was always ready and willing to listen.
He was slow to anger, quick to forgive, and always ready to laugh.
He was humble beyond reproach.
His humility made him small which allowed others to feel big.
Fulton often used a catch phrase or a word to build you up – “let’s go champion!” was just one of many.
He made sacrifices for his team and would take on any role requested of him.
He was smart, insightful, and candid but could share his thoughts in ways that weren’t caustic.
Think about the qualities I’ve cited and apply them in ways that can help individuals in your own organizations become better safety leaders of various programs, processes, and of course better teammates. Help them to amplify their own qualities and roles.
John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach once said, “A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork.”
Fulton was a true friend, confidant, and a great teammate. A teammate who did his best for the good of his group. Thank you Fulton – you will be missed!