Leadership Comes to Fourth and Goal

When it comes to effective leadership, each interaction matters.


Recently, I’ve started watching the Netflix show, Last Chance U, which is described as, “Elite athletes with difficult pasts turn to junior college football for a last shot at turning their lives around and achieving their dreams.”

While the characters are raw, talented, and largely uncut, what really struck me is how each and every game is different. Each and every down matters.

Think about the pattern: we go from downs, to quarters, to half-time, to full games, and then seasons. In each one of those instances, it matters what we do. Yet, even if you drop the ball, you have the next down, quarter, game or even season to try again.

You can see the obvious parallels to leadership: each interaction matters. That said, we never get it right 100% of the time. Every leader falters at times. The good news is, even with a bad play or down, you can still win the game.


Leadership has to be paired with vision that is communicated, understood and given credence by your employees. That is, your employees have to know the goal of this season: what’s the purpose? If your employees know the purpose and the ultimate goal, they will forgive a bad play here or there as you push down the field.

I recently was reading Jonathan Becher’s blog (highly recommend following him), Culture Gets a SEAT at the Table, and he related this:

Creating a purpose based on societal benefit inspires fans during the difficult times. A purpose can also serve as a rallying cry for employees, who work long hours and might be lower paid compared to other industries.

As you create what can be that rallying cry, you foster an environment where fumbles can be made, because you now have the team backing you.

So, you’ve got this play, and you’ve got the season… and then, you work toward the dynasty. Each moment as a leader matters. That’s not just the decisions you make, but how you speak, what you don’t say, how you act towards your people, what you model and more.

Any fumbles recently? Any field goals you would like back? As you consider your game plan for the season and even the next play:

  1. Plan
  2. Communicate your purpose
  3. Run hard.

Oh, and don’t forget to encourage your teammates as often as possible and as appropriate. As one of my former professors used to say, “Catch them doing something well.”

Originally published on LinkedIn.com

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Meet People Where They Are and Serve!

Servant Coaching Builds Trust and Gets Results Too

by Darrin Tulley

Leadership Lessons from Soccer Seniors 2019

by Joel Hawbaker

Boundless Leadership: Why sports is the worst analogy for leadership

by Zoe Routh
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.