Matt Canada and YOUR Leadership

Last week, the Steelers decided to relieve Matt Canadae of his duties as Offensive Coordinator. You would have thought we won the Super Bowl based on people’s reactions.

As I’ve watched people’s reactions, comments, and posts about the situation, it made me sad and angry. I was shocked that people are so quick to tear someone down and celebrate their misfortune. Do people realize that Matt Canada is a human being? He is a son, a husband, and a father.

As a father of two boys, thinking about how it would feel to be Matt’s father, one of his children, or another family member breaks my heart. When did it become so easy to forget the humanness of someone.

You can have your opinions about whether or not he was the right person for the job he had, but let’s not participate in what’s become one of our culture’s favorite things to do: tearing others down.

Lynda Kenny once said, “You don’t rise by tearing others down.” Today, I want to challenge you about judging others, gossiping, and thinking about how you use your platform. Here are my thoughts:

“You don’t rise by tearing someone else down.” -Lynda Kenny

1.) Leadership is Tough.

First, I want to acknowledge that leaders in any organization must make tough decisions. Often, those decisions have to do with dealing with people’s performance. Those decisions will always impact people’s lives, and as a result, they are very hard to make.

Have you ever had to fire someone?

Have you ever dealt with people who have not been performing up to the standard you need them to?

If you have, you know it is the single most challenging thing to deal with in leadership. If you’re a good leader, you likely lose sleep anytime you have to make a decision that’s going to impact someone’s life in a negative way and you should.

Even if you know or believe it’s the right decision if you ever lose that empathy and compassion, you’re headed down the wrong path as a leader.

Decide to be the kind of leader that will go out of your way to help people succeed and ultimately, if that doesn’t work, do everything you can to help make that person’s transition a good one for them.

2.) Why are you posting or commenting?

If you decided to post or comment celebrating Matt Canada getting fired, can I just ask why?

What good in the world can come from you celebrating another person’s misfortune?

Don’t You Have Anything Better to Do?

This is a serious question. Do you think the best use of your time and platform is to use it to criticize and belittle others? Is that the best way to get the attention and engagement you want? If it is, that’s sad.

What if you used that time to do something that will make a difference in someone’s life?

But isn’t that what they signed up for?

You might say, well, Doug, they (professional athletes and coaches) get paid millions of dollars, and criticism is part of their job. It’s what they signed up for.

That may be true (I’d also add that everyone in leadership or doing something significant with their lives will be judged and criticized), but this isn’t about them. It’s about YOU and the kind of person and leader that you want to be.

Do you want to be a leader who is known for judging, gossiping, and criticizing others privately or publicly? I know I don’t!

If you’re willing to post and criticize people that you don’t even know online. I’m more than willing to bet that you gossip and criticize people that you do know in your organization and in your personal life. Stop it!

3.) If You Have a Problem with Someone, Talk to Them!

If you have an issue with someone, you should go to them and talk to them about it. Don’t have access to them (i.e., Matt Canada)? Then you’re probably not close enough to the situation to actually do something about it and you probably should keep your opinions to yourself.

3.) Do you want to be judged and gossiped about?

Have you ever performed poorly in a job before?

Have you ever been fired?

What if your organization or department is not growing or performing as well as it should, and it’s a result of your leadership?

Would you want people posting and commenting about how bad of a leader they think you are? What if everyone in your organization started chanting for you to be fired every day? How do you think that would feel?

Jesus once said, “Judge not, lest YOU be judged.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be judged, so I will do my best not to judge others.

4.) Have Empathy for People.

What if that was your brother, sister, mother, father, daughter, or son who was let go, and millions of people were celebrating it? Would you be talking about them the way you talk about Matt or anyone else that you judge, for that matter?

The more empathy we can have for others in our leadership, the better leaders we will be.

5.)God Wears Your Jersey When No One Else Will.

Years ago, one of my pastors taught a message called, “God wears your jersey when no one else will.” It was incredible. The main message was that even if the entire world is against you, God is still cheering for you.

In other words, while the world is celebrating Matt Canada losing his job, God is cheering Matt Canada on to his next opportunity.

That’s the kind of leader I want to be.

My prayer for Matt Canada is that he doesn’t define himself from this season of his life. I pray that he learns the lessons that can be learned from this experience and that he will move on to a new season in his life that will be better than any other season he’s experienced so far.

6.) People are Watching You, Leader.

In summary, the main reason I felt compelled to write this post is to challenge all of us (myself included) to become more aware of how often we judge others, gossip, and celebrate the downfall of others, rather than love people, have empathy, and have hard conversations.

As a leader, people are watching you. When you post and comment celebrating the downfall of others, you probably don’t realize it, but you’re losing trust and influence with others. Please stop.

If we’d all commit to judging others less, to stop gossiping, to have more empathy, and to have hard conversations when we need to have them, I believe the world would be a better place.

Go make a difference today!

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