Are You Leading Or Complaining?

My son played basketball in his teens, and one day I was searching the Internet for a summer skills camp. I came across a video of a coach teaching his players.

The coach on the video said leadership is the entire team’s job, not just one person’s. You need to know the play. You need to talk. You need to help each other.

She said when you step on the floor call out,

  • “The point guard is left handed!”
  • “34 likes to shoot from the right baseline!”
  • “Remember to hustle back on defense!”

That’s leadership. Leadership is reminding your team of the keys to get the best result – before the “play,” when it makes a difference.

Think about what happens when you wait until after the “play” to communicate the same information.

  • “Didn’t you know the point guard was left handed?”
  • “Why didn’t you keep 34 off the baseline!”
  • “I told you to get back on defense!Same information.

But telling others what they should have done when it is too late is complaining. The tone and inflection will be different. And you can bet complaining has a different result too.

Leaders instruct before the “play.” And they pick up the team (not put them down) after a failure.

Think about it. You probably have most of the answers. You may know what to say. But when and how do you say it?

Are you a leader or a complainer?

If you are not sure, let’s talk. Contact me at

“What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you – what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind – you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.”

– Jeff Bezos, Founder, and CEO,

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