Those of you who read my musings, but hate football, will be pleased to know that there are 3 weeks left in the entire season between tonight’s College National Championship game (Go Tigers!) and the 3 NFL games left!

I see two types of leaders today in this day of high stakes and high (media, reputational, and financial) scrutiny…punters and quarterbacks.


  • rarely get into the game
  • literally put the ball in the other team’s hands
  • face minimal risk of injury (low risk)
  • often practice with a small number of teammates
  • have only 1 person from their position in the NFL Hall of Fame
  • make few complex decisions


  • have possession of the ball more than anyone
  • are tasked with multiple options on every play
  • are the single biggest factor in a team’s success
  • usually take the largest share of blame in a team’s loss
  • receive the largest salaries of any position in football


Both positions are necessary, but only one of these roles is tasked with leading a team to victory. It’s the quarterback.

So why are so many leaders of organizations happy to put decision-making to others and take the low-risk route of choosing the most cautious role? It’s all about courage and self-preservation–and it’s that choice that hurts so many organizations. Do you want an isolated role or do you want to lead, inspire, take control and execute plays that lead your team to victory?

Be a courageous leader–be the quarterback.

(Apologies to all former punters reading this. I know you’re important and occasionally tear an ACL, but the analogy works!)

Pete Havel is a consultant, keynote speaker, trainer, obviously a football fan, and author of ‘The Arsonist in the Office: Fireproofing Your Life Against Toxic Coworkers, Bosses, Employees, and Cultures. He specializes in fixing broken organizational cultures. You can reach him at pete@petehavel.com and find his book at http://www.arsonistintheoffice.com and on Amazon.




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