It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of the Patriots or not. It doesn’t even matter if you like football. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady take the cake for the worst leadership debacle of 2015 so far.

Honestly, it really doesn’t matter who let the air out of the footballs. When no one takes accountability and arrogance rules the day, it’s a personal foul.

[Tweet “Belichick and Brady take the cake for the worst #leadership debacle of 2015. #deflategate”]

Their poor choices don’t just hurt this year’s Super Bowl. The poor leadership demonstrated by Belichick and Brady tarnish the Patriot franchise and the entire NFL by choosing not to set the right example for their fans, the kids who look up to them, and the country in general. Shame on them both.

[Tweet “Great #leaders take responsibility and lead with humility, not arrogance. #deflategate”]


  • If you’re at the helm, you’re responsible, no matter what. You need to have enough integrity to take responsibility for the actions of those you lead. Even if you are not directly responsible for the actions they take, simply accepting responsibility for what has happened engenders trust and respect that deflecting will not.
  • People are good B.S. detectors, so if you are trying to deflect responsibility by claiming you don’t know what’s going on, people will see right through you. Just be honest. Leaders who are willing to admit, with humility and honesty, that they made a mistake, are often forgiven. Those who don’t, lose respect and trust that can be difficult to rebuild.
  • If you’re going to take shortcuts to achieve your goals, you will most likely lose. If you’re going to do something, do it right – even if it takes longer to get there.

[Tweet “Lessons in #leadership from #deflategate on the East Tenth Group blog.”]

More than 100 million of us will be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday, but how many of us will be thinking more about deflated balls and cheating than the game itself? What a shame.

As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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