Own It

One morning last week, I was standing at the bus stop playing catch with EJ and Maddie while my friend Will did the same with a couple of other kids.

It is a cool way to start a week with the kids and in the fall Will and I are catching up on college football from the previous weekend. After the kids reluctantly got on the bus Will’s eyes immediately lit up and he said, “do you think Urban Meyer is going to get out of this one.”

Full transparency… I had zero idea what he was talking about as I had not seen or heard anything while I was at the five softball games, four soccer games, baseball game, and football game over the weekend!

Now, Will is a die hard Penn State fan which I love and admire but that also means that if a former Ohio State coach… especially this former Ohio State coach… so much as sneezes the wrong way, it is headline news.

Immediately, the phone came out and he showed me the video which caused me to pause. Unfortunately, the college coach came out in me and I wanted to know the context.

When did this happen?

Where was he at?

Who was he with?

What did he say?

Now, I have friends who receive this newsletter who are friends with Urban and his wife, so I am not going to talk about the family issues this caused. It is well documented by Urban’s family that he has struggled in that area over the years but that is not my place to judge or to talk about.

To me, that is something very private and should remain so.

I am also not going to judge his values and actions because that is his deal.

Nor will I point out that he should have been smart enough to have the right people around him to not let that happen.

But here is what I can tell you with conviction… he lost his team.

I do not care that if you win in the NFL, you will survive.

After the game on Thursday night, he talked about how it was such a heartbreaking and devastating loss. Then on Friday this happens while his team is back in Jacksonville. I get he wanted to stay behind to be with family since they were in Ohio… but this.

Still, this is not where I believe he lost his team. The majority of those guys were probably happy he stayed behind and could care less he had a woman who was not his wife grinding on him while he sat at the bar talking.

He lost his guys in the press conference when he talked about ‘owning it.’ Then he proceeded to talk about the difficult conversations he had with his family, leaders on the team, the owner, and his staff.

Then he talked about the slack he cut guys when they went to Vegas, had a bachelor party, and whatever else they did off the field.

Owning it is not comparing what happened to you as a leader to what some 20-something-year-olds do in their downtime. It is not making yourself look better by comparing yourself to the actions of others.

Leaders do not compare their best intentions with other peoples’ shortcomings.

Leaders who impact people simply step up.

People trust authentic leaders because they know what they are going to get.

They will get:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Vulnerability

Owning it means dealing with your actions in real time and stepping into the mess you made. Whether people are making more of it than you think they should.

It is called optics and you must model the behavior you want your people to have.

Perception is reality when you are a leader.

They will do what you do.

Maybe that is why Jacksonville is 0-4 and have appeared unprepared and lifeless at times.

A team is a direct reflection of their head coach.

This was originally published as a weekly newsletter from Ed Molitor, with The Molitor Group. If you’d like to receive the weekly newsletter, follow this link to subscribe.


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