On Leadership, Reality and Monday Morning Quarterbacking

Monday Morning Quaterbacking


So, it’s the day of the big game! I am looking forward to a nice quiet evening watching the Super Bowl.

But I am not looking forward to the day after the big game.

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

It is not because I party too hard or stay up too late, but it is because of all of the “should’ve, would’ve and could’ve’s” that come to surface. It is amazing, the number of experts who sit at home on the Monday following the game in their comfortable arm chairs and know better how to play the game than those who make the roster.

You hear things like:

“Come on, I could have caught that pass!!!”


“What is he thinking, he should have never called that play!!!”

Yep, the world is filled with arm-chair quarterbacks who never make bone-headed plays or the wrong calls.

Oh to live in such a perfect world.

On Talking and Walking

But do you know the difference between those who talk and those who do? It can be summed up in one word, REALITY! I always want to ask, “Well why didn’t you make that catch,” or “why didn’t you call something different?” You know why the didn’t, they were not really in the game.

It is much easier to muse about the possibilities than it is to take part in the realities.

Leadership is much the same. I find that some of the grandest criticisms of leadership come from those who have never really led. They sit back in the comfort of their lack of responsibility and accountability and say things like, “Well no wonder it didn’t work, he should have done it this way,” or “Everyone saw that mistake coming.”

It is amazing that the simplicity of leadership is questioned by those who seem unwilling or choose not to even be in the game.

On Doing it Right

Leadership done well is not easy. It takes a special calling to be willing to shoulder the accountability and responsibility of leadership. The first to come and the last to go, and often the one to put up with the most criticism, she is the real leader.

If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. But they don’t, do they?

Real leaders find themselves fighting it out in the trenches when others have left the building. Real leaders miss sleep because the decision weighs heavy on their hearts while others simply scoff at why they didn’t get their way.

Leaders who really lead know that the results far outweigh the credit and they do not mind when the nay-Sayers amazingly get on board when all of a sudden that sure to fail task doesn’t.

On Playing Well

Are you a real leader? You have to know that the arm-chair leaders will criticize, complain and question. It comes with the territory. But those of us who play the game know that even when we don’t please everyone, leadership is essential and serves as its own reward.

Keep on leading! REALLY!


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Dr. Dan Roberts
Dr. Dan Roberts is professor of Organizational Leadership at Point University
His teaches “If you desire to lead, you must decide to serve.”
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L2L Contributing Author


  1. Bill | Leadership Heart Coaching on March 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Some of my harshest criticism came when I had to lay off several staff members in my department during recession in 2009. I had a very tight knit group who were firing on all cylinders and the selection process was very difficult. I knew that whatever decisions I made were not going to be favorable with remaining staff. Some wondered why I didn’t choose this person over that person, etc…. A difficult decision the armchair leaders did not have to make that week.

  2. Wendy Farrand on March 13, 2013 at 6:57 am

    I work in the logging industry, and one of the biggest issues I have faced is when hiring an additional crew member, there was always a ton of Monday Morning Quarterbacking (and a little rougher than you would get around the water cooler!). So I incorporated the crew that I was hiring for in the final decision. Everyone was allowed to meet the potential candidates and give feedback. I would take their comments and observations into consideration and make the decision. Getting feedback from your team allows them some ownership of the final decision and if nothing else they get a feel for how hard the job really is!and the icing on the cake was that people are more likely to support a decision they feel they have a say in making.

    Now, you may say that is impossible in the corporate world! I do have to say, I remember a time when I did work back in the corporate world, when we worked with one very successful international company where the CEO incorporated the entire company into the creation of the mission statement! Of course the main context of what the company stood for came back from all departments and divisions, so the power of that was that the majority of the sentiments came though in the mission and everyone felt included. This is one CEO that I learned a lot from! He also stood up at an Executive Board training and sung “Put on a Happy Face” as a way to start your day!! I consider him one of the greatest leaders I have ever met! He built a very large and very successful company with this style of leadership.

    I say this to crew supervisors all the time….get the feedback, you may not use it all, but there is power in the process, one that just might eliminate the Monday Morning Quarterbacking!