Monday Morning QBing Ain’t Just for Sports

Whether or not there is football this year is a moot point.

Playing Monday Morning Quarterback is an activity that most of us have participated in and it can apply to any sport. It’s that time-honored activity  where after a game is over, you sit around or text with friends about what YOU would’ve done at a crucial point in the game to change the outcome in your team’s favor.

But the Monday Morning Quarterback is not just relative to sports. It plays a huge role in leadership.

You see, just like the plays in a game that are often the deciding factor between a win and a loss, there are leadership plays that occur every day that can determine whether an individual, a team, or even an organization wins or loses.

But unlike sports, where we can Monday Morning Quarterback all we want and it will not change the outcome of the game, in leadership it can.

Great leaders Monday Morning Quarterback all the time.

It’s called reflection. And great leaders reflect on every leadership opportunity and ask themselves one important question, “What could I have done differently or better to make the outcome even stronger?”

This is not to say that as leaders we must second-guess every decision we make; however, it does push us to reflect on not only the actions but also the words that we used when dealing with those we serve.

During a recent Emotional Intelligence workshop I and a colleague conducted for a group of life sciences leaders, one of the leaders remarked that he felt he was spending too much time “winging it”. My response to him was that I believe all leaders have a little winging it in their life – in our fast-paced world we have to. There are times where we simply can’t plan for every interaction and we must rely on our experience and skill to help those we lead achieve a stronger performance and/or overcome an obstacle.

And this is where Monday Morning Quarterbacking comes into play.

I think it’s important to reflect every day on that day’s leadership interactions, our decisions, and our words we used within our leadership efforts. I have no doubt that often we will walk away with the feeling that we did pretty darn good in leading our people and our teams. But there will be those situations where we realize that we could have done better – we could have changed the outcome of the game.

And indeed, in many cases we can.

Now comes the most important part of that Monday Morning Quarterbacking – actually doing something about it. Unfortunately, the list for those leaders (more often than not managers) who were never wrong is much longer than the “I could have handled that better” list. Strive to be on that latter list and you will find your people not only appreciate your honesty and humbleness, but they will also respect you and your leadership even more.

In closing, the author and organizational behavioralist, Meg Wheatley, said the following about reflection, i.e., Monday Morning Quarterbacking,

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”

And that’s the great thing about being a Monday Morning Quarterback when it comes to your leadership – your vision is 20/20. You know what went well and what could have been better.

And you, only you, have the opportunity to make things better, which in turn, will help your team, your organization, and even you as a leader, enjoy the rewards of a winning season.

Stay safe, well, and good Quarterbacking!

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