The New England Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX. The game ended on an interception, while the Seattle Seahawks had the ball on the 1 yard line as the clock was winding down. Oh, and they also had a guy named Marshawn Lynch. It is considered the worst play call in Super Bowl history.
As Western Civilization itself neared implosion on social media, I kept thinking about how many leadership lessons for a guy like me would end up anchored on the decision to call a pass play instead of the run. Here is what came to mind…
Our decisions do matter, and they can affect everyone around us. Sometimes we forget that though God is sovereign and great, our choices matter. Good choices and bad choices do impact the world around us.
If you take a risk that works, you’re hailed as a genius. Fail, and you might become a hashtag. Pete Carroll is going to be on Superbowl Highlights for the remainder of America’s existence because his decision to pass on the 1 yard line. And it isn’t for being a genius.
Effective leaders need to have thick skin. I wish I’d have understood this sooner. Don’t ignore feedback just because you don’t like the tone of voice. At the same time, don’t take criticism personally. I’ve been around leaders that represent both of these both extremes, and they struggle to inspire others. The Seahawks staff has a task on their hands to rebound this offseason, for sure.
Learn from your own mistakes, and you may actually not repeat them. Pete Carroll in the immediate aftermath seemed to feel completely justified in the logic and strength of his decision. That’s just dumb. He’s in a tough position and I get he needs to protect his staff and players. But the game ended in the worst ever playcall in Superbowl history. He can say what he wants, but hopefully he learned something.
Don’t get carried away by what your groupies tell you. A leader generally has both relentless critics and a a few groupies. Critics tear you up, and groupies will never stop emailing you praise, congratulating you, texting you, and whatever else they believe will help them get ahead by shoveling hype on top of your leadership. Groupies may make you sick, but they’re usually easier to have around than critics. Just remember, no matter what, to NEVER listen to the groupies. Otherwise you’ll think your own brains, giftedness, and awesomeness entitle you to success, which could allow you to pass the ball on second and goal instead of simply using your punishing, physically imposing running back to seal a sure thing championship win.
Don’t fail to utilize talent on your team simply because you don’t like a person. Yes, we’re all sick of Marshawn Lynch press conferences. Let’s hope his off the field persona isn’t the reason the Seattle coaches made an in game decision. Reflect on that one for a few…
Effective leaders don’t scapegoat their own team members. Coach Carroll owned the decision, though it is up for debate as to whether he actually made that horrendous call. We’ve all been around leaders and managers that game the system to get ahead but really do nothing for anyone else unless it helps them. I’ve been blessed to be around a couple guys in my lifetime that invest in their team members and absorb the blame when things go wrong. And I’ve watched others make bad decisions (or no decisions) and yet shift blame to someone else when results aren’t great. This single trait says a lot about us.
The Superbowl is still just a 60 minute game. So, a good reminder to place the appropriate level of importance to the right things in our lives. As my five year old son said to me this morning: “The Super Bowl isn’t that important. God is really important.” Oh, that we would all have the leadership perspective of that little guy this morning!
What did I miss?