San Francisco 49ers: Would Bill Walsh Think the Right Leader Was in Place?

Pacifica Slug@azovrkzContributor IMarch 21, 2010

10 Sep 2000: Bill Walsh of the San Francisco 49ers moves to block the line during the game against the Carolina Panthers at 3Com Park in San Francisco, California. The Panthers defeated the 49ers 38-22.Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck  /Allsport
Tom Hauck/Getty Images

My wife recently visited a local library and brought home a book about leadership.  It is called "The Score Will Take Care of Itself," and it is about Bill Walsh's philosophy on leadership.  

It was started by Walsh and a writer, and finished posthumously by that same writer and Walsh's son, Craig.

I thought it is very relevant to the current situation with the 49ers, as there does not seem like an overriding direction to the 49ers collecting of talent.

Walsh stressed that there needs to be one leader and that all decisions must flow through that leader.  

He also spoke about how Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. made sure everyone in the organization understood that Walsh was the leader.  

With that backing, Walsh swept through the organization with the changes he thought would transform the 49ers from a collection of people to an effective organization.

How then, would Walsh look at the current situation with the 49ers?

Would he agree with the way Jed York has allowed Singletary to shape the team the way he wants, even if it meant the ouster of the current GM?  I would say based on his book, emphatically yes.

Walsh described his own tenure with the 49ers as a redefinition of the organization: from back-fighting and chaos, to order and professionalism.  

The current regime, without a strong GM presence dovetails, nicely with the way Walsh preferred his organization: centrally based around him.

This is not to say that Walsh advocated that he run everything himself; rather, his direction would be followed at all times.  That loyalty to his vision was paramount to the base of an effective organization.

Now here is the big kicker and how it ties into the current 49ers organization: Walsh repeatedly emphasized that this style of leadership only works if the leader is respected by his followers.  

That respect is built by the belief that the leader has the qualifications to know what to do at any given moment through intense and thorough preparation.

When that belief doesn't exist, the followers lose faith and tune the leader out (see Golden State Warriors).

If Mike Singletary is able to convince the players and the front office that he knows what he is doing AND he is right, then I see very good things in the future for this organization.

If not, I see many years of hard times ahead until the 49ers find someone who better reflects the qualities set in print by Walsh.



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