Fall on that Damn Sword…

Listening to the radio yesterday, I heard a former NFL offensive lineman turned sports commentator discuss quarterbacks in the NFL. He said that this position receives the “lions share” of the credit when the team wins and the majority of blame when the team loses. As the default leader of the team, to earn the respect of his teammates, the quarterback must be willing to deflect the praise he receives for wins while accepting the blame thrown his way over losses.

I think these words resonate in all instances that involve others: work relationships, school projects, volunteer efforts, side businesses, and coed rec sports leagues (yes I still play as you’ll read about in a few days).

Respected, honest leadership is borne from our willingness to shoulder blame for mistakes (whether our individual screw-ups or those of our team) and exalt the efforts of our teammates above our own when celebrating successes. Everyone wants attention. Hell, I want it so much I acted in a play at Huntington Playhouse in June to feel the adrenaline rush of performing onstage for a crowd.

The real goal, though, should be to resist the temptation to pursue recognition, while seeking the responsibility of accepting fault. If we do this, others are likely to follow our example.


Nickels and Dimes is a series of short commentaries on inspiration, decision-making, relationships, and other items. I will post these thoughts every Tuesday and Thursday until I run out of new things to say.

For a daily helping of wisdom, please visit these excellent thinkers: Matt CheuvrontSam DavidsonPaul Jarvis, and Josh Linkner. Oh, and of course, Paulo Coelho.


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