Pete Carroll: Leadership With Humility

Seattle Coach Pete Carroll
Seattle Coach Pete Carroll (Wikimedia Commons)

Decisions affect outcomes.

In the final seconds, head coach Pete Carroll made a play-call decision for his Seattle Seahawks in Sunday's Super Bowl. The call was immediately questioned by sportscasters and perhaps every armchair quarterback with an interest in football.

Rather than allowing all-pro running back Marshawn Lynch run the football for what most experts felt would be a certain touchdown, Carroll ordered a pass play. The result of the play was an interception by the Patriots and the game effectively ended.

Within 30 seconds of the end of the game, Carroll had a microphone pressed to his face to explain "The Call." His response was at once informational and instructional to leaders and included these important considerations:

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1. Coach Carroll looked past the immediate. He wanted to run more time off the clock. If his team scored quickly, New England and Tom Brady would potentially have enough time to run another series of plays and perhaps tie or win the game. 

Lesson: Leaders see past the immediate decision.

2. Carroll did not duck reporters at the end of the game. In the wake of such a heartbreaking loss, the team leader explained his decision with grace. Carroll had little time to craft an answer. His response came from a position of deeper understanding of the call than most of his critics could grasp.

Lesson: Leaders over-communicate without the need to become defensive.

3. Carroll spoke to his team immediately after the game and accepted full responsibility for the call. The coach didn't blame other coaches, players or bad luck. He praised the opponent and simply said, "It's my fault. Wrong call."

Lesson: In the aftermath of a bad outcome, leaders step to the front and assume full responsibility for the poor result. 

We don't need to understand football to recognize outstanding leadership in the face of backwash from a decision. Often, a quick decision yields powerful impact upon an outcome. Sometimes, the end result is just plain bad.

Leaders respond to adversity and failure, learn and set a course for the next desired outcome. 

Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, Love Leads.

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Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.

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