The “Hat Trick” of Successful Leadership

by Dr. Rick Franklin

If you’re a hockey fan, you’re familiar with the term “hat trick,” describing when a player scores three goals in one game, eliciting an eruption of hats tossed onto the ice to celebrate. Wayne Gretzky, arguably hockey’s greatest player, holds the record with 50 hat tricks during his illustrious career.

In similar fashion, leaders should have three big goals, that when combined, can provide a potent path to victory for the team or organization.

1. Trust

When a leader trusts his/her teammates, and the team trusts their leader, trust forms the glue that holds the team together through challenge and change. Trust also provides the grease that smooths out conflict and enables a team to work efficiently and effectively over time, leading to better performance. Consider Jesus and the trust he had in his disciples as well as their trust in him. That trust helped launch the first-century church, still going strong today.

2. Clarity

The successful leader provides clear direction, so everyone knows what the priorities are and where the team or organization is headed. Similarly, an effective leader clarifies expectations so team members can move forward with confidence. The Great Commission in Matthew 28 encapsulates Jesus’ clarion call and direction to his first-century team and to us today.

3. Motivation

Motivation serves as the fuel to overcome hurdles and achieve goals. Effective leaders know their teams so well, they’re able to imbue team members’ abilities with purpose, meaning and impact in a way that propels them forward toward victory. Look at how Jesus inspired and spurred his disciples forward in Acts 1 with the promise of Holy Spirit power and global impact.

Trust. Clarity. Motivation. Those form the hat trick for successful leaders.

How are you doing in deepening trust, providing clarity, and fueling motivation in your team or organization? Take a moment today and consider one thing you can do to improve your trust, clarity, and motivation. Your teammates will be tossing hats onto the ice in celebration when you do!

Dr. Rick Franklin, Vice President, Arrow Leadership Ministries. For more information about Arrow Leadership’s partnership with Citygate Network and ways to grow as a leader, please visit

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