Qualtrics co-founder and chairman of the board Ryan Smith interviews NFL legend Tom Brady at the virtual tech conference Work Different 2021.


Caring about employees leads to success, Tom Brady says at Qualtrics' virtual tech conference

By Lauren Bennett, KSL.com | Posted - Apr. 13, 2021 at 2:10 p.m.

PROVO — Seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady spoke Tuesday at Provo-based tech giant Qualtrics' virtual conference on what makes a great leaders and how to further a team.

"To me is what makes a great team, a great culture, about a group of men, a group of women, that all believe that they can get something accomplished together," Brady said. "You don't have to worry about them; they don't have to worry about you. They do their job, you do your job, you've set a great culture, you align on a goal and you work toward it."

What makes a great leader — whether it be in business, sports or family — is having empathy and caring about people, Brady said.

"You gotta care about the people that you're working with. You have to be open and receptive to their ideas. You have to give them recognition when they deserve it," he advised.

Not caring about coworkers or employees leads to a toxic work culture, Brady said. He advised those who can't find empathy toward their team to get out of leadership or find a way to be more caring.

Giving people the benefit of the doubt and recognizing the workers largely want to do their best is key to realize as well, Brady advised. It's about giving employees the tools they need to excel.

"You got to be open to learning, to adjusting, to adapting to what market conditions are; just like we do on game day," Brady said.

Success isn't guaranteed, but it will likely be easier to achieve for leaders who are focused on building up their teams and who care both about the product and the leader, the future hall-of-famer said.

"As long as you have that trust built up — because you care about one another, you set the right game plan, you work hard at it, you believe in one another, you believe that the person next to you is going to do their job — you have a great chance for success," he said.

Cultivating a healthy culture at a company and prioritizing employees is crucial to success, he added. When big wins do happen, Brady said they should be shared with the whole team — not just the coach and the quarterback.

"It obviously starts at the top, and everyone's gonna look at the leader and say, 'Is this the person I want to follow?'" Brady said.

As a new leader, proving you're willing to do the work and lead and build trust helps motivate employees to put in the effort, as well, Brady added.

Staying humble and recognizing it's OK not to know everything is something Brady has tried to do in his life.

Ryan Smith, Qualtrics co-founder and chairman of the board, said other leaders should try to emulate this concept of always being a learner.

"Tom Brady's in learning mode and he's always trying to learn, whether it's coming into a new role, whether it's understanding something about your business — and it's truly that simple: it's care about people and let's go lead from the front. And I think that's applicable to every single leader, especially right now in uncertain times," he said.

Qualtrics' Work Different conference includes speakers from several other figures from big industries, including Sal Khan of Khan Academy and Ally Love, founder and CEO of Love Squad and Pelaton instructor.

"The best leaders are lifelong learners, and that's a great trait because it's OK to not know everything, and none of us know everything," Brady added. "When you surround yourself with great mentors — people who are really smart, people who make really good decisions — you can learn so much from those people."

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