Leadership: Renee Montgomery

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I have been exploring Leadership a great deal recently.  We’ve looked at how important it is to get your player’s view of their own leadership, who they are and how it all fits together.

I have ben fortunate to coach many players with tremendous leadership ability.  We are all fortunate to have the opportunity to coach against other players and witness their ability to lead.  One of the premier young point guards in the World currently is Renee Montgomery.  I was on the receiving end of two of her masterpieces while she was developing her leadership skills that enabled

Renee Montgomery

Renee Montgomery

UConn to eventually complete a perfect 39-0 season and win a National Championship during her senior year.  It was in her sophomore and junior years, two “not so close” wins were over us while I was at Virginia.  (12/5/07: 75-45 and 12/18/06: 96-60)  She was tremendous on the court, but she also showed great leadership when she went to the sideline as well.  Even though the game was never in question she continued to lead.  That stuck in my mind, impressed me.

As the fourth overall pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft  she helped lead the Minnesota Lynx to within one game of a playoff spot, providing leadership as a rookie for a team really hampered greatly by injuries.

Renee agreed to review and reflect on one of my recent posts Leadership:  Seven Leadership Essentials and how it pertains to her and her career.

I expected a few sentences… What came about was easily better than the original.  Download it and read it.  Share it with your team.  It’s a tremendous look at Renee’s leadership ability, who she is and where she is headed.

Reading it lead me to her website and to investigate more about this person.  I came away with a tremendous amount of new-found respect for just who this person is.  Not only the athlete and the player, but the person.

Take time to look over her site, you’ll come away very impressed.

PRINTABLE VERSION OF:  Leadership: Seven reasons why I am who I am By: Renee Montgomery

Thank You Renee!

Continue below to read Renee’s: Leadership: Seven reasons why I am who I am…

Leadership: Seven reasons why I am who I am

By: Renee Montgomery

Its been said “everyone wishes we had the essentials of great leadership early in our lives, careers,” but I have been one of the few that had this trait at an early age. Many people that have come in contact me were surprised to know that I was the youngest in my family because of how assertive I am, and how I have taken control of situations. I do think that leadership qualities can be developed, but true leaders are born with a special something. What is that special something? I really don’t know, but I’m going to try to help you understand what its like, “being a leader from birth.”

Seven Leadership Essentials:

Who am I?

I am a 22-year-old woman that was born and in raised in St. Albans, WV. I would like to be able to say that growing up I faced a lot of adversity in school or at home but I didn’t. I grew up making straight A’s, which was the only acceptable thing when my Mom was a college Professor. My home life was enjoyable to say the least. People have compared my family to the “Brady Bunch,” but I wouldn’t go that far. My parents have been married for thirty-five years and counting, so my home life is an area of strength for me. I am just a girl raised in the country, so how could I lead a girl raised in the Bronx? How can I relate to someone born and raised in California?

What is authentic leadership?

I was never given a template for “how to lead” or “what it takes to be a leader.” The everyday leaders to me were my parents. I aspired to give my all in everything such as they did with my sisters and I. For example: My mother and I stayed up all night perfecting my science fair project. Now, did the extra six hours that we put in making sure everything was right matter? To some, no, but to us it was the difference in getting 1st and 2nd place, so it meant everything. I want my leadership legacy to be I always strived for first place, and rarely received second place. But how can I, being a perfectionist, inspire someone that is lazy?

How does leadership exist in teams?

There are many types of teams in life. It can be a group project in class, a volleyball team, organizations fighting for the same cause, etc. So how does leadership exist in teams is a very broad question, but there is also a very broad answer. To be a leader you need people to follow you, your passion, and your ideas. I also think that at times, a leader has to know when to take the back seat and follow. My strength may be English, while my co-workers/teammates strength is math. By allowing my partner to take the lead on math related issues shows that I trust and have confidence in him/her. But how can a leader allow someone to lead them? How can I allow someone give me an answer to a question that I already had figured out?

How do I communicate?

I have always been blessed to be able to communicate with people from different cultures and different backgrounds. I’ve done this, by not trying to be anything other than who I am. I’m not going to try to seem more street savvy because I am talking to someone from Detroit nor would I try to change my country accent because I am talking someone from Beverly Hills. When a person knows that you are being real with them, they are more likely to listen to what you have to say. But now that I have their attention what do I say to them? How do I know which words to use, and when to stop and listen?

What do I do with conflict?

Conflict is not something that I have had to deal with a lot while growing up; yet dealing with it is one of my strongest leadership traits. I know when things are right, I know when they are wrong, and I know ways to fix them. This may sound simple, and you may be thinking that we all know when things are right and wrong. Sometimes someone may say all the right things to you, but you still need to realize that something is wrong. It may be from my “Brady Bunch” upbringing, but I just want everyone to be happy, or as happy as possible. Being a leader means that I may have to temporarily jeopardize my happiness to bring other people together and make them happy. But why would I do something that makes me unhappy? Why does it matter to me if they are unhappy?

How do my values affect my actions?

Values are everything when it comes to being a leader. I put value in hard work, honesty, and trustworthiness. I have to lead by example as well as through words. I cannot tell someone to run harder while I’m the last person finishing the sprints. I cannot inspire someone to be truthful at all times when I have previously lied to them. And I definitely cannot ask someone to follow me if they don’t trust my leadership skills. But how did I gain their trust? And why will my teammates trust me far after our college years spent together?

What’s my vision?

My vision was to try to explain to you how I think, and how being a leader was something that has always dwelled within me. I know that everyone has the ability to have leadership traits but I also think that some people should aspire to be followers. Not followers that do what others say whether it is good or bad. The followers I’m referring to are also known as hard-workers, go-getters, or employees of the month. I am an athlete, and I lead my teammates, yet my Coaches lead me. Let’s face it, most of us are going to have a boss, or someone that tells us what we should do, but this doesn’t mean that you cant lead within your smaller groups. The answer to all of the questions that I asked in this article is simple. Its that “special something” I have. My something is different than yours, but everyone has a special something. So start today and find out…. what’s yours?


  1. Good thinking, especially for someone still relatively new in the leadership business. The last one, vision, is misstated. Your *goal* was to explain to us your vision about yourself as a leader, i.e., what your picture of yourself as leader is and where you aiming to take it.

    I wish you and your teammates well at MN. I lived there for a number of years and came to games regularly. The story every year has been “we’re a young team.” The question is, will you be able to play a leading role in making it something much better, or are the obstacles endemic to the organization? To be continued…

  2. Renee,
    This is a very nice article! I have a few things in common with you. I too was born and raised in WV. Charleston to be exact. I also lived and worked for a few years in MN. Elk River, north of Minneapolis to be exact.

    I also feel that to be a leader you have to have that “little something extra” that most don’t think about or or try to achieve. As I’ve followed your basketball career, I can say you have that ‘little something extra” that most don’t have. I wish most young people had the work ethic and drive that you have. It’s great to see that you are working with our youth to help enstill that trait.

    Congrats on all your accomplishments in the past and good luck on your journey in the future.

    You are a special lady that can make a difference!

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