Leaders Are You Listening to Your Team?

This weekend is Super Bowl Sunday (one of my favorite days of the year). We get to see…


This weekend is Super Bowl Sunday (one of my favorite days of the year). We get to see the #1 Defense (Seattle) play against the #1 Offense (Denver). These are two worthy and deserving teams and it should be a great game, but you may not know the whole story of why Seattle is in New York this week preparing for the big game.

The Seahawks’ biggest score happened only because the kicker told Coach Pete Carroll to “go for it.” If you remember the NFC Championship Game, it was the fourth quarter and the Seahawks were losing and up against a fourth down. Here’s the scoop from a Yahoo Sports article:

“Sometimes, great coaching moments come from a team’s leader making the exact right call at the right time.

And other times, the kicker talks you into going for it on fourth down and you end up with the biggest touchdown of the playoffs.

The Seahawks were going to go for a field goal on fourth-and-7 in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s NFC championship game against the 49ers. Seattle trailed by four points, and it would have been a 53-yard attempt. Thankfully for Seattle coach Pete Carroll, kicker Steven Hauschka wasn’t too proud to tell him he didn’t think he could make the kick.” (There’s another lesson here for all of us on pride and wisdom and discernment) Moving on…

“Instead, the Seahawks called timeout and went for it, and Russell Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for a 35-yard touchdown. Seattle took the lead on that play and never trailed again, winning their second NFC championship in franchise history.

“I didn’t really want to kick it, to tell you the truth,” Hauschka said, according to Newsday. “It was into the wind . . . I didn’t think it was the right decision and I let coach Carroll know that.

“You have to be honest with yourself. It was the wind at that moment. Sometimes you can make that, but I felt the wind at that moment was into the face enough to not want to try that kick. I grabbed him on the sideline as I ran out because I could see the flags [on top of the uprights] and I told him: ‘We shouldn’t kick this.'”

Carroll deserves credit too. He’s the type of coach who will invite feedback from his players.”

Wow. He invites feedback from his team. Do you? I actually wrote about this in my forthcoming book Strange Leadership. In the book, I talk about how the best and most innovative ideas don’t always come from the top. Often it’s someone down the org chart that comes up with a brilliant idea.

My prayer and encouragement to you in senior leadership is to invite feedback into decisions, planning and meetings you run. Be the kind of leader that team members want to risk bringing a crazy and strange idea to. It might just lead to a huge win. Just ask the Seahawks!