The Baltimore Ravens suffered a heartbreaking defeat to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game when kicker Billy Cundiff missed a last second field goal that would have tied the game.  How leaders handle defeat and disappointments speaks greatly to their character and influence.

Ray Lewis is the unquestioned leader of the Ravens and one of the great leaders in sports.  The following are the quotes and lessons we can take from his post-game comments.  I gleaned 12 leadership principles that when practiced will help leaders better deal with disappointment and missed expectations.  It would be a privilege to play alongside this incredible leader.

  1. Perspective – When asked was it your toughest loss ever, Lewis replied, “Absolutely not.  Been in this business too long to be the toughest loss ever.”
  2. Define Current Reality – “Is it a tough loss?  Absolutely.”
  3. Lift Others Up – “I take my hat off to my team.”
  4. Understand Life Cycles Of Performance – “God has never made a mistake.  Ever.  Somebody’s gonna feel like this tomorrow.  Somebody’s gonna feel like this after the Super Bowl.  And whoever wins it, that’s their year.”
  5. Trust God – “There’s a winner and there’s a loser.  And when you lose, you’ve got to suck it up a like a man and say, ‘Father, if it’s Your will, so be it.'”
  6. Continual Improvement – “As a team, we’ve got to keep moving. Keep building.  Keep building.  Keep building”
  7. Be Thankful – “Life offers too much and every time you step on this field, it’s a true blessing.”
  8. Desire Unity – “As a team, not one guy doubted is probably the most important thing we learned as a team.”
  9. Confidence In Others – “Not one guy doubted Joe Flacco was going to move the ball down the field.”
  10. Give Maximum Effort – “Our offense played their tail off.  Our team played their tail off.”
  11. Respect The Opposition – “It’s the mutual respect of when you line up, you put your pants on one leg at a time, they knew they was gonna have to give us everything they got.  And we knew we were going to give them everything we got.”
  12. Comfort Others – Regarding Billy Cundiff – “Not one play won or lost the game…There’s no one man that’s ever lost a game.  And for me to go to him which I will very quickly (and say), ‘Don’t you ever drop your head.  We win as a team.  We lose as a team.  There’s no Billy lost the game.  Billy missed the kick.  It happened.  Move on.  Move on very quickly.  As a man, because life doesn’t stop.”

Perspective, Define Current Reality, Lift Others Up, Understand Life Cycles, Trust God, Continually Improve, Be Thankful, Desire Unity, Have Confidence In Others, Give Maximum Effort, Respect Your Opposition, and Comfort Others.  As a leader, Lewis gives us a great model of how to practice these 12 principles during a time of great disappointment.

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