As a leader it is guaranteed that at times you will make decisions that others will say make no sense. You will have critics. There will be people who look at you and wonder how in the world you were chosen to be in a position of leadership.  I watched my favorite football team play their in state rival. Not only was this a game of bragging rights, this game was the only thing  that stood in the way of my team going on to play for their 3rd straight National Championship. The game itself was poorly played; there were busted plays, miscues, and lack of communication between players.  The coach would instruct his players after each down. Sometimes these instructions came in the form of yelling and other times they came in the form puzzled looks. What I noticed about the coach was as the leader of the team he was never disengaged. He studied the plays; he formulated a plan, and made the next decision for the team. I found myself talking to the TV. “What kind of play calling is that?” I said (arm chair quarterback syndrome).

The real clincher was the last play of the game. It was tied 28-28 and my team had the ball on the 55 yard line with 1 second left. All they had to do was throw a Hail Mary, run the ball, or even take a knee and go into overtime. All eyes were on the leader, how would he lead his team, what play would he call. The coach put in a redshirt freshman to try and kick the longest field goal of his short career. What happened next was nothing short of an epic failure. They missed the field goal and the opposing team returned the ball for 100 yards to win the game. What was he thinking? How could he make such a bad decision? Never mind that he is one of the winningest coaches in history, never mind that my team was undefeated prior to coming into the last game of the regular season.  I was judging the decision this coach made on the limited information I had at the time. I clearly was not on the sideline or involved in the weeks of prep leading up to this game.

This got me thinking, as a leader every day I am faced with decisions that impact those I lead.  I prepare for these times and I make the decision based on the best information I have at the time. Yet, sometimes I fail. Sometimes I make the wrong call. It is never intentional and I do not take the responsibility to lead lightly. However, as a leader I am always being watched. Think about it, if you are leader that no one is watching then you are not really leading, you’re just walking alone.  There will inevitably be decisions that we make as leaders that have folks questioning our ability to lead. It is in those times that our character is challenged. Are you easily shaken when you fail? Do you believe what the critics say? Or do you rise to the occasion, admit defeat determined to succeed? Remember as a leader you are always being watched, studied, and hopefully imitated by those you lead.


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