Workplace lessons from the Seahawks’ Super Bowl loss

heartbreakWhile my heart is still heavy from the Seahawks losing the Super Bowl, I’m so darn proud of them. Watching the big game was an emotional roller coaster. Our boys played well against the talented Patriots but in the end we lost. And, it was a hard loss due to a controversial play call that many thought led to us not scoring the winning touchdown in the last 20 seconds of the game. Losing is a bitter pill to swallow.

But, there are some powerful workplace lessons in what transpired. Pete Carroll decided to have Quarterback Russell Wilson throw a pass to Ricardo Lockette rather than have Marshawn Lynch run it in. He felt passing the ball into the end zone for the first down and then running it in, if need be, in the next two downs was a better strategy for eating up some time to prevent the Patriots from scoring again. While some on the team may have disagreed with the play call they complied. And, with few exceptions, they supported Carroll for the decision. Even Marshawn Lynch when asked if he was surprised he didn’t get the ball for a rushing play, answered, “No. Because football is a team sport.” And that it is.

teamworkWork is a team sport as well. As employees we often have to follow plans that we may not agree with. We may feel that there is a better way. But, imagine if everyone did their own thing and didn’t follow orders. The workplace would be mayhem – a bunch of individuals working against each other. While I support employees being able to speak up and share their perspective and ideas, ultimately the final decision is the manager’s. And, we need to respect that even when we disagree.

This was probably my most challenging lesson when I worked in the corporate world, and perhaps that’s why I chose to be self-employed. But, when a team trusts their leader and everyone works together, amazing things happen. I experienced this many times when I worked for Washington Mutual years before its demise.

Perhaps the bigger work lesson comes when a plan doesn’t succeed, like the Seahawks’ final Super Bowl play. It would be easy to point fingers and throw the decision maker under the bus. But most of the Seahawks players didn’t do that. They are a perfect example of teamwork and respect for their boss. Of course, Pete Carroll is a great coach, one who coaches through positivity and finding the individual strengths of his players. It’s easier to support a leader who you admire and respect.

Carroll also took responsibility for the play call. He apologized to the team and praised them for a job very well done – a lesson for workplace managers. Apologize for your mistakes, support your team and they will support you.

The Seahawks win as a team and they lose as a team, and that’s how it should be in the workplace. Work hard, support your coworkers and boss and if she makes a mistake let her save face – don’t blame her and question her. Your humility and teamwork will take you a lot farther than finger pointing.


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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. CaroleCancler on February 4, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Great post. I was thinking there were some great lessons in our SB49 loss. “Win as a team, lose as a team.” is a good lesson for anyone on any team (work, family, …).

  2. ArdenClise on February 4, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    CaroleCancler Thanks Carole. They showed a lot of class in the loss. Many of them are great role models.

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