Are there times when the fact you are doing a great job does not matter?  Are there times when the performance of the team you lead has dramatically increased but yet you still lose our job?  Are there times when improved metrics matter little when evaluating your leadership?  The sobering answer is Yes.

The Oakland Raiders had one of the worst offenses in pro football when Hue Jackson became their offensive coordinator in 2010 and then its head coach one year later.  The team which ranked 31st out of 32 teams in total offense in 2009 improved to 10th in 2010 and then 9th in 2011.  Despite the team’s improved performance, Jackson was fired after just one year as head coach.  And worse yet, it appears there is little to no opportunity for a head job in the future.

So what happened?  The reason for this is something all leaders can learn from.

Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated reported of “others perceiving him as a power-hungry opportunist who’ll step on or over anyone to climb the professional ladder.”  You can read Trotter’s full article by clicking here.

Trotter goes on to add that Jackson is seen as a “me guy” rather than a “team guy”.  In other words, Jackson cares more about himself than those he is called to serve.  Nowhere was this more on display than after losing the final game of the 2011 season and missing the play-offs by one game, Jackson told the media the following about his team:

I’m pissed at my team.  At some point in time as a group of men you go in the game and you can say whatever you want about coaches, [but] you win the game. Here’s your time. Here’s your time to make some plays. We didn’t get them stopped and we didn’t make enough plays. Yeah, I’m pissed at the team. Like I tell them I always put it on me, but I am pissed at my team because when you have those kind of opportunities you’ve got to do it, and we didn’t do it.”

Jackson is said to lack people skills.  Most consider him brash at best and a bully at worst.  Now currently the running backs for the Cincinnati Bengals, he is hoping for an opportunity at redemption.

It may be too late for Jackson but it is not too late for you.  If you are a leader who blames others, who throws his team under the bus, who constantly makes excuses and passes the buck, then stand up and be a leader.

Support your team.  Go to bat and take bullets for them.  Give credit to others and provide a platform for them to showcase their skills.  It is only then that you can earn the trust and loyalty from those you serve.

If you do this, then you may be a leader who will get to enjoy the fruit of your success and have sustained influence.

Pastors and leaders, what one thing you can learn from this post that will make you a better leader?

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