CNN interview reveals Kevin O’Connell leads through love and empathy

In a recent interview with CNN anchor and Minnesota native Poppy Harlow, Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell reflected upon his journey through the NFL ranks and towards becoming a head coach in the league. One of the biggest takeaways from the interview was his mentality on leadership, stating that love and empathy are at the forefront for him.

“It’s really what I view as the standard” is how O’Connell put it when asked by Harlow if it’s fair to say his goal is to lead the team with love and empathy, stating that he believes the players can sense they’re getting the “real, authentic” him and respect him for it.

Perhaps the greatest example of O’Connell putting his words into action came earlier this season through the acquisition of former Cardinals quarterback Josh Dobbs. Dobbs was acquired in a mid-season trade and was almost immediately thrust into action for the team.

Prior to Dobbs seeing his first action with the team, O’Connell let the quarterback know “No matter what happens these next two-and-a-half hours, I’m gonna be with ya, every step of the way.” That confidence in his quarterback let Dobbs come in and lead the Vikings to two straight victories under incredible circumstances.

The season didn’t end how Dobbs, O’Connell, or Vikings fans would have wanted, but during a season where the team faced extreme adversity, it was O’Connell’s principles of empathy and leadership through vulnerability that kept the team together and in the playoff hunt until the very end.

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire