Second chances

I am watching the NFL draft and just saw Tyrann Mathieu get drafted in the third round by the Arizona Cardinals. Some of you may know Tyrann Mathieu. He was one of the best college football players in the country two years ago at Louisiana State University. Had he played this past season, he would surely have been discussed as a Heisman Trophy candidate. But Mathieu didn’t play college football last season. He was suspended for several substance abuse incidents and ultimately, dismissed from the team.

So the Cardinals took a risk with this draft pick. They are “rolling the dice” and hoping that Mathieu has straightened himself out and will be a positive addition to the team. Mathieu is getting a second chance.

This made me think about one of the dilemmas we face as leaders. What do we do when one of our team members gets into trouble and does something unethical or illegal? For some of you, you may say, there is no dilemma at all; you get rid of them immediately. Others of you may struggle a bit more. You may believe that it’s your job, as the leader, to care about your team and to help your team members better their lives. You may be compelled to help a struggling team member by giving them a second chance.

You also have to think about what message your actions may send to the rest of your team. If you give a team member a second chance, does that tell the remainder of your team that you care about them and want to help them succeed? Can that help build loyalty for the long term or is that a sign that team members can take advantage of your caring and concern?

Providing a second chance for a team member really can be a challenging decision. Did the Cardinals do the right thing?
Only time will tell. What are your thoughts on second chances? Should leaders have patience and understanding or should we draw a firm line in the sand? I would love to know your thoughts on this very real leadership challenge.

Thanks for reading,
Jim

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