Lessons From Pete Carroll After Loss

It’s far easier to lead when everything is coming up roses and exceptionally hard, even painful when the chips are down.

For fans of the Seahawks, their loss was a bitter pill to swallow. But those of us in leadership can learn a lot from how Pete Carroll handled his crisis.

Most of you already know I am a big Pete Carroll fan. He continues to model great lessons for workplace leaders –the most important of all is how he practices what he preaches.

I admire the way he took responsibility for the loss and continues to hold his head up in the spotlight. Many of his players have followed suit and what you don’t see is a lot of finger pointing and blame among the team.  They protect each other.

Here are a few team workplace lessons from our loss.

• Pete Carroll always talks in “we.” He remains consistently focused on a “team” mentality. In business I often see teams break apart in bad times due to pointing fingers, placing blame and politicking for personal agendas. Keep the we in team, not the I.

• Respond thoughtfully vs. react during bad times. Workplace teams like football teams can fumble. What happens after is critical. Do we fall apart? Blame? Resent? Leave? Or do we get stronger and grow from what we learn? Workplace teams should build post postmortems or debriefs following product or project wins and losses. Ask, how can we get better going forward?

• Don’t pass the buck. Take responsibility for mistakes and be accountable for your actions. This is critical to earn (and keep) trust and respect.

• Be authentic and candid with your team –they are adults, they can handle it. Pete Carroll’s practice after a loss is to gather his team together and “tell the truth.” Teams can grow from truth–they don’t grow from avoidance. Wise leaders don’t attempt to deny reality when it comes to the emotions of their staff. No one checks their feelings at the door when entering into work. Its when feelings go underground that they cause damage to us and to teams. Acknowledging and allowing people to appropriately voice their emotions is important.

• Its OK to be vulnerable. Pete Carroll admitted in an interview he “feels responsible for a lot of people right now.” This makes him human. We can feel grace for his situation by his authenticity.

• Look forward positively. Pete Carroll assures fans the Superbowl last play call isn’t going to define his championship team going forward. I hope you won’t let mistakes define your team either. Failures are part of business life. Teams that value teamwork and protection for each other will stand the test of time and keep getting stronger.

The Seahawks are a championship team with an extraordinary leader that I appreciate for modeling these lessons.

I am here to help with your growth. I continue to offer one on one executive/leadership coaching and training/workshops and facilitation for your teams and staff.  All referrals are greatly appreciated!
Maureen Moriarty
425 736 5691 (cell)

maureen@pathtochange.com